Are Mobility Scooters Allowed On Buses?
If you’re a mobility scooter user, you may only use your scooter for short journeys, on the pavement.
If so, you may wish to take the bus on longer journeys (perhaps taking your mobility scooter to the shops) – and, of course, you’ll need to take your mobility scooter on board the bus.
You’ll want to make sure that bus journey goes nice and smoothly then, won’t you?
In this article, you’ll see everything you need to know to make sure that happens.
Some circumstances, which we’ll discuss, can make it difficult to travel with your mobility scooter, but planning your journey in advance can make it much easier.
Firstly, make sure the scooter is in normal working condition, and the batteries are fully charged.
Let’s make sure you’ve got a nice, hassle-free journey on the bus, then!
Introducing: Are Mobility Scooters Allowed On Buses?
Public buses are becoming more wheelchair and mobility scooter friendly with each year that passes.
As recently as 2012, Transport for London regulations stated that mobility scooters weren’t permitted on London buses.
They had a guidance booklet, called The Big Red Book, which literally had a picture of a mobility scooter with a big cross through it.
Despite that, some mobility scooter users were able to travel with their mobility scooters on board – but they never really knew with each journey if they’d be denied.
Thankfully, things have changed in recent years. You can make your journey with certainty, as long as you meet a few conditions. If you know you meet those conditions, then you know you’re allowed on the bus. It just requires a little forward planning.
To that end, it’s likely to be a more comfortable and enjoyable bus journey if you avoid travelling on the bus during rush hour and other busy times.
So Are Mobility Scooters Allowed On The Bus?
There is no law that says bus companies MUST allow mobility scooters on board their buses.
However, mobility scooters are allowed on an increasing number of buses, depending on the size of the scooter and the particular bus company’s rules.
The good news is that almost all of the major bus companies have now agreed to follow guidelines that allow mobility scooters on board.
That’s thanks to organisations like Transport for All, Scope and Disability Rights UK. They work with governmental bodies and public transport representative groups to improve the law and improve conditions of travel on public transport for disabled people, as well as improved mobility scooter access to hospitals, for example.
The vast majority of buses have priority spaces for wheelchair users, as well as ramps that allow safe entry to and exit from the bus.
And mobility scooters? A permit scheme, developed by the CPT (more on them later) has been developed to allow mobility scooter users to travel on buses.
You’ll need to contact the bus company you’re going to use to ask them if they’re taking part in this scheme. Search online for their contact email or phone number and ask them to confirm if they are.
Another thing to be aware of is that wheelchair users have priority for use of the wheelchair space over mobility scooter users and buggy users.
CPT Code: Mobility Scooter Use On Low-floor Buses
The regulations regarding mobility scooter use and acceptance on buses are provided by the CPT (The Confederation of Passenger Transport) UK.
This body, in conjunction with the government’s Department of Transport, have produced the CPT code, which outline the industry standard for the carriage of mobility scooters on scheduled bus services in England and Wales (apart from London, more on that later).
As well as allowing as much access and comfort as possible for mobility scooter users, the aim of this code is to minimise disputes and disagreements, giving clear guidelines that are understood both by passengers and by bus staff.
To that end, they advise bus companies to distribute their adherence to this code as widely as possible to the public, especially to groups that represent people with mobility impairments.
CPT Code Guidelines
There is “no legal requirement to carry Mobility Scooters”. They may be carried at each operator’s discretion. That means it’s up to the bus company to accept the mobility scooter in any given instance, or not.
Class 2 scooters are accepted providing they are:
- Maximum width – 60cm
- Maximum length – 100cm
- Turning radius – not exceeding 120cm
- Weight – must be within the Safe Working Limit of the bus’s ramp (normally 300kg). The driver must make his own personal assessment of whether a mobility scooter and user will be in excess of this amount. If the drivers believes they will be too heavy, then he will have to politely refuse entry, with an explanation of the reason.
Here are the UK’s best portable, folding mobility scooters.
Class 3 mobility scooters will be refused access to the bus. They tend to be larger, can travel at 6-8mph, and have front/rear lights, hazard warning lights.
The bus driver should have a recognition guide to allow them to identify Class 2 and Class 3 scooters.
Permit For Travel Scheme
The bus company must make sure mobility scooter users can have their scooter assessed and approved for use on their bus.
They should produce a “permit for travel”, which the scooter user can use to show to the driver to confirm they’ve been approved for access. This should be a credit-card sized photographic document.
It should last for a fixed duration (not more than 5 years) and show the conditions of use. When shown to the driver, the user should be allowed on board with their mobility scooter.
Other rules for mobility scooter user access
- Only buses with low floors and ramps will allow for mobility scooter access. Those with step access will not.
- The user must be able to manoeuvre up and down the ramp safely and within a reasonable period of time to be issued with a permit for travel (the bus company must provide training and be assured of the user’s ability to do this before issuing the permit for travel).
- When boarding, you must approach the ramp head on, to avoid tipping over
- Occupy the designated wheelchair space, reversing up to the backrest
- Switch off your scooter motor when in place, and park in gear so it doesn’t move
- If the wheelchair space is already in use by someone else in a wheelchair or mobility scooter, you won’t be allowed access to the bus with your scooter
- You must remain on the scooter once you’ve parked, using handrails to stay sage and balanced.
- The scooter must be in good working order, with no dangerous elements exposed, and not customised with potentially dangerous alterations.
- The scooter must not be overloaded with anything (eg. Shopping bags) that cause it to be unstable.
- Your permit to travel can be revoked, if the mobility scooter is misused and causes damage or injury to other people or the vehicle.
Drivers must ask anyone occupying the wheelchair space to move if a wheelchair, mobility scooter or buggy user needs to board and use this space.
Bus company rules on mobility scooter access
First Bus follow the CPT regulations.
That being the case, you can contact them to obtain a permit for travel, and also to ask for a training session.
Stagecoach say in their Conditions of Carriage that they’ve “adopted the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) Code of Practice for the use and acceptance of mobility scooters on low-floor buses”.
Therefore, you can contact them to request a permit for travel, which allow the driver to see that your mobility scooter has been approved for use on Stagecoach’s buses.
They also say they’re “constantly investing” in their fleet to upgrade space and access for disabled in wheelchairs, disabled buggies and “certain approved mobility scooters”.
All Stagecoach’s own buses are wheelchair accessible but some services operated by coaches which may not be.
The best and most detailed advice on mobility scooter access to Stagecoach buses can be obtained by calling the local Stagecoach operating company’s Disability Helpline.
Are Mobility Scooters Permitted On London Buses?
Yes, you just need to get a Mobility Aid card.
Your mobility scooter needs to pass a few criteria, if it does then you’re allowed on.
Of course, the bus needs to have a low-floor and ramp, allowing for your access. As well as space to fit you (ie. no other wheelchair or mobility scooter user is already using the wheelchair space.)
You can get your Mobility Aid card by applying to Transport for London. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 3054 4361.
As well as issuing this card, the Transport for London are experienced with mobility scooter travel on buses, and can give you advice on the easiest way to get on and off the bus.
This is the result of Transport for London’s Mobility Aid Recognition scheme, one of a few important and positive schemes that improve travel on public transport for disabled people.
If you call the number above, Transport for London will ask a series of questions about your mobility scooter, to see if it’s okay to travel on their buses.
They’ve already identified dozens of models of mobility scooter models that can fit into the wheelchair space that are already on London buses.
If your mobility scooter meets their criteria, you’ll get your Mobility Aid card. Then you’ll show it to the bus driver (your card assures the bus driver that your mobility scooter will fit) and you’ll be allowed on the bus.
The mobility scooter must be:
- Class 2 type (for pavement user, not road use) with speed limit 4mph
- Maximum width: 60cm
- Maximum length: 100cm
- Maximum turning radius: 120cm
Due to schemes like this, there is increased awareness and communication about mobility aid travel on buses among bus company staff.
So we’d hope that most bus drivers will allow you on the bus if your mobility scooter will clearly fit and cause no problems. Even if you don’t have a Mobility Aid card.
But to be safe, you should get a Mobility Aid card anyway. It’s great for peace of mind to have this card, and know that you’ll be permitted to get on the bus.
Travel Support Card
Transport for London also offer a Travel Support Card. You’ll fill in the card (which also has your name and an emergency contact number) with what help you require to travel safely on the bus, and show it to the bus driver or a member of staff.
All wheelchair and mobility scooter users can travel for free on London buses (and trams).
Some disabled Londoners are eligible for free travel on public transport, using a Freedom Pass.
And free travel on London buses is possible with an English National Concessionary Pass.
Mobility Scooters: Are They Allowed On Coaches?
While an increasing number of coach companies are making their routes accessible for wheelchair users, most of them haven’t yet been able to find a way to accommodate mobility scooters.
This is because their buses don’t have enough space on the bus for a mobility scooter in its normal form.
However, some companies, like National Express, will allow small, lightweight mobility scooters – they must be folded up and stowed in the luggage hold.
Here are National Express’s conditions that you must meet to be able to take your mobility scooter.
The scooter must meet the following conditions:
- It can be folded and unfolded
- It can be taken apart and reassembled, if it can’t be folded
- It has a dry fuel cell, gell fuel cell or Lithium battery
- No assistance or auxiliary aids that would make it unsafe to stow in the luggage hold
- The heaviest part weighs 20kg or less
They recommend that you book at least 36 hours in advance of your journey, to allow them to check that your mobility scooter is safe and will fit.
But that’s nor a rule, as such. Even with same-day bookings, they’ll take reasonable steps to complete their assessment of your mobility scooter in the time available.
To assist the coach company with their assessment of your scooter, give them the following information:
- The size, that is the width, height and length of the scooter
- The make and model of mobility scooter
- In addition, if you have any ancillary equipment (eg. A roof/canopy), then you should provide them with a description of it, including dimensions, make and model.
If they will either be able to let you know immediately if you’re allowed to take your mobility scooter on the bus or they’ll give you a call back if further checking is required.
The driver and other coach company staff will load and unload your mobility scooter for you (along with any other luggage), as long as it doesn’t weigh more than 20kg.
Other coach companies have similar policies regarding mobility scooters.
FYI, you can save cash by getting a disabled coach pass. You’ll receive one-third off the standard fare price.
Are Mobility Scooters Allowed On Buses: Summary
As you’ve read, things are now certainly a lot better than they were 10 years ago.
You may even have been in or seen an altercation between a mobility scooter driver and a bus driver who refused them access.
Thankfully, that’s now far less common. The majority of buses now have low floors, ramps, and wheelchair space that also allows for smaller mobility scooters.
Just make sure if you’re getting a mobility scooter (here are the best mobility scooters, UK) and you plan to use the bus that you get a smaller and lighter one. And get a lightweight, portable mobility scooter if you’d like to take it on coach journeys.
If you have that, then get your permit for travel (or Mobility Aid card for London buses). Then you know you’ll be allowed on the bus.
We hope this was helpful. Enjoy your bus trips!