Bus drivers get wheelchair advice

TfL has consulted with disability groups to identify problems with bus travel. Credit: ITN

Transport for London has issued new guidance to its bus drivers to help improve journeys for Londoners who take bus journeys using wheelchairs and mobility scooters. The guidance is contained in the latest version of the bus drivers' Big Red Book, a practical guide which is issued to all 24,000 drivers in London.

The advice includes:

  • Making sure the wheelchair bays on buses are clear if a disabled passenger wants to use them.

  • Drivers should make tannoy announcements asking other passengers to move buggies that are put in the wheelchair bay.

  • The guide informs drivers which types of wheelchair and mobility scooters can safely board buses.

  • Drivers are reminded to park as closely to the kerb as possible so wheelchairs can get on to the bus from the pavement.

The advice was drawn up after TFL held a forum with groups for disabled and older passengers. Last month, they launched a Mobility Aid Recognition Card so mobility scooter users can show that their scooter is permitted to go on a bus.

All of the 8,500 buses in London are accessible to wheelchairs and have hydraulic ramps. However, only 65% of bus stops are deemed to be accessible to disabled people. TfL says it is working on improving the stops to make them easier to use.

During the Paralympic Games all spectators are advised to plan ahead.Disabled passengers, especially those using wheelchairs or mobility aids, are being offered the following additional advice:

*Plan your journey: *The London 2012 Spectator Journey Planner includes accessible travel options across the UK and spectators are urged to plan ahead.

Travelling in London: For those spectators planning to travel around London to make the most of the theatres, restaurants, shops and other attractions during the Games, TfL’s Journey Planner has been upgraded to make it easier to plan accessible (including step-free) journeys.

Book travel on National Rail services in advance: For assistance such as help getting on or off a train, it is important to book in advance. This enables the relevant train operator to check the accessibility of the stations you will be using and help you plan the journey best suited to your needs. It also gives time to relocate staff to assist you.

Accessible shuttle services: will be provided at many venues to transport spectators from the nearest recommended accessible station to the venue itself. These services are available for disabled spectators and do not need to be pre-booked.

*Blue Badge parking: *Spaces are available at venues for spectators who hold a valid Blue Badge or recognised national disability permit. At some venues, spaces will be booked by session and you must ensure you return to your car by the specified departure time.