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The new edition of the Big Red Book is out

The Big Red Book is TfL’s official guidelines for all bus drivers in London. Every driver should have a copy of it and be familiar with its contents, covering a range of subjects from visually impaired passengers to wheelchair and mobility scooters allowed on the bus.

The 4th edition.

Transport for All advised on sections of the re-written Big Red Book that deal with older and disabled transport passengers, and we welcome the changes that have been made.

There are a number of different sections in the Big Red Book. The first section of the book answers bus drivers’ most frequently asked questions. Surprisingly (or not!), 3 out of those 6 questions concern disabled and older people. It seems that bus drivers are still unsure about:

Guidance has been revised on several topics. Updates have been made to the introduction of the ‘Older and Disabled passengers’ section (page 53) highlighting now the fact that bus drivers should let older and disabled people leave via the front door if they want to, because the front of the bus is closer in to the kerb and lower. It also mentions the fact that bus drivers using hybrid or electric buses need to “keep a lookout for older and disabled people, especially visually impaired people” as they may not be aware when the bus stops as this buses are quieter than regular buses.

This edition introduces a new section about passengers with hearing aids: ‘’If [the] bus is fitted with a T-loop there will be a sign near the cab and [driver] should advise passengers using a hearing aid so that they can select the ‘T’ position on their hearing aid.”

Other sections have been updated including:

In the section ‘’What if people don’t make room?”, TfL added a paragraph saying that “if a buggy owner already on the bus is willing to get off to provide more space for another buggy or wheelchair user, [driver] should issue a transfer voucher to allow them to travel on another bus.”


We really advise our members to read the ‘Older and Disabled passengers’ section of the Big Red Book. Unfortunately, we regularly receive calls from TfA members experiencing problems on buses because bus drivers don’t always know what they have to do.

Knowing what the official TfL guidelines say could help you to know your rights while travelling on the bus and make a stronger case if you encounter a problem. Some of our members always keep a copy with them. Iman Saab is one of them. She says:

“I always have a copy of the Big Red book with me – with some paragraphs highlighted ready to be shown to the driver. Drivers are always surprised and shocked when I show them what their duty is. Disabled people should know about their rights. If every disabled and older person knew about their rights it would be much easier. They also need to know that they can complain and Transport for All can help with that.”

The Big Red Book is available to download here. You can also click on the document at the bottom of this page to look at it. The chapter ‘Older and Disabled Passengers’ begins on page 60 of the booklet which is page 31 of the PDF.

If you cannot read a PDF, and would like to know more about the guidelines on a certain subject, please call Transport for All and we will be happy to provide the information for you. Tel: 020 7737 2339