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Buses

Bus Service Information

Despite the fact that London has the largest accessible bus fleet in the world, using buses in London can be challenging for Disabled and older people. However, armed with the right information, you should be able to use buses to explore our great city.

This article gives you all information you need to know about:

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Don’t forget that our Advice Line can help you with your accessible transport issues (020 7737 2339; contactus@transportforall.org.uk; click here for other ways to contact us).

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Accessibility

All 8000 London buses are accessible to all Disabled and older people. The only restriction is for travellers using a very large electric wheelchair or large mobility scooter (see below).

Picture of visually impaired travellers getting on a bus

Limits for mobility scooter users:

Picture of a mobility scooter user boarding a bus

If you experience any problems with drivers not permitting you to travel, please contact us (click here for our contact details).

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Join us to fight for our right to ride

Buses are one of the most accessible way to travel in London but they are far from perfect. Transport for All receives calls daily from Disabled and older passengers who are being let down on the buses. We’re campaigning to ensure:

  • Disabled people always gets priority in the wheelchair space
  • Bus are carefully and don’t pull away before passengers are seat
  • Audio-visual announcements on every bus and bus stop

Transport for All is fighting for these changes. But we need your help.

Take action so that everyone can access buses with independence by becoming a member or donating today (click here)

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Cost

Freedom pass holders can use any London bus 24 hours a day. (click here for more information about the Disabled Person Freedom Pass OR click here for the Older Person Freedom Pass)

Wheelchair users, mobility scooter users as well as visually impaired people using a guide dog, are entitled to free travel on London buses and do not need to show any ticket or pass.

Personal assistants or carers must hold a valid ticket/Oyster card or bus pass. Transport for All is campaigning so that discounts and concessions are also made available to personal assistants and carers: click here to help us achieving this goal.

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Journey planning

There are various different timetables and maps available online, for a printed version please ring Transport for London (see below for contact details).

Picture of a older person looking at information at a bus stop

You can also plan your bus journey using the TfL journey planner (click here to use it). This journey planner is very useful despite not being perfect.

Transport for London also runs a helpline to help you plan your journey (bus or other type of public transport). You can contact them via:

Telephone applications:

If you use a mobile phone there are quite a few applications out there to help you plan your journey such as Citymapper. You can also use Google Maps. TfL Journey Planner is not available via an app but you can still use it on your mobile phone. Please note that all those apps needs internet access to give you live/updated information.

Live information:

There are Countdown signs at 2,500 bus stops that show which buses are coming and when they will arrive. There are also apps available giving you live information on when your bus will arrive.

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Top Tips…

...for travellers using a mobility walker or a shopper trolley: If you use a wheeled mobility walker or a shopper trolley, don’t be too shy to ask the driver to lower the bus or the ramp so you can board more easily. The bus has been designed to do this and the drivers have been trained to operate this function when requested – they only have to push a button.

…for Hard of hearing travellers:

In the following video, our member Mike Theobald gives you advice on how to travel by bus: https://youtu.be/twFvjJVYLWE

…for Wheelchair and mobility scooter travellers:


In the following video, our member Gwynneth Pedler gives mobility scooter users advice on how to travel by bus: https://youtu.be/FNOIH6XirqY

  • Who gets priority over the wheelchair priority space? Wheelchair users, mobility scooter and disabled children using a buggy as a mobility aid are to be given priority on all buses. If the space is occupied by other passengers or buggies, the driver must us the iBus automated announcement stating “A customer needs the wheelchair priority area. Please make space“. If the customer does not move, a second message should be played: “Customers are required to make space for a wheelchair user. This bus will wait while this happens“. The bus driver can’t force someone to move but should actively require that the space is vacated for you. If this doesn’t happen, please contact us; we need to complain about it!
  • Getting off the bus: There is a blue button for wheelchair and mobility scooter users to ask for the ramp to be deployed at the next stop. This will send a signal to the driver that they need to lower the ramp at the next stop. Once again, they will have to let passengers get off first, then close the doors to deploy the ramp and finally let you get out.

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Know your rights

As a traveller you have some rights and can expect certain standards when travelling. Your rights mainly come from two places: the Equality Act and the Big Red Book. The Big Red Book is a guide explaining to drivers the rules they need to follow.

Here are some of the standards you should expect while travelling on buses. If something goes wrong please contact us!

  • No London bus should leave the garage with a faulty ramp.
  • The driver should stop and deploy the ramp when the blue button is pressed.
  • The driver is only allowed to refuse entry to any dog if it is behaving aggressively.
  • Guide/assistance dog owner can use the seats by the wheelchair priority area so the assistance dog can sit in it. If needed the bus driver should ask people already occupying the area to share the space.
  • The bus driver should extend the ramp or kneel the bus, if a passenger with a mobility walker or shopping trolley asks for it.
  • Audio-visual announcements should be turned on.
  • Bus drivers should pull over very close to the kerb and bus stop.
  • They should allow you enough time to get seated before pulling away from the bus stop.
  • Wheelchair users, mobility scooter and disabled children using a buggy as a mobility aid are to be given priority on all buses. The bus driver can’t force someone to move but should actively require that the space is vacated for you. If this doesn’t happen, please contact us; we need to complain about it!
  • Passengers using a class 2 mobility scooter (maximum width is 600mm; maximum length is 1000mm; maximum turning radius is 1200mm) should not be refused access to buses.
  • Bus drivers should always make sure that passengers who want their bus have an opportunity to board before they pull away: this means that they need to pull up to the bus stop’s flag-post if needed.

Please contact us, if you feel that you have not received the service you should have, or you feel that the driver did not carry out the correct procedure:

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We need to report it or complain about it. Every time we report a problem, it helps build the case for a more inclusive and reliable transport system.

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Since you’re here …

… we have a small favour to ask. Transport for All is proud to be an independent grassroots charity and we depend on donations and support from our members. Every day Disabled and older people have their lives restricted (or even become housebound) because transport services fail them. Take action so that everyone can access buses with independence

There are two way you could support us and take action for Disabled and older people’s rights to travel:
If everyone who reads our articles/blogs, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure.

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