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Buses

Bus Service Information

London has the largest accessible bus fleet in the world! Here is some information to help you use it.

Accessing the service

Wheelchair users are entitled to free travel on buses and do not need to show any ticket or pass, but anyone accompanying them must hold a valid ticket/Oyster card or bus pass. The ramp is at the doors in the middle of the bus – you can see how wheelchair users board buses here:

(Video produced by Transport for London)

A very small number of older single-decker buses have the ramp at the front doors of the bus but at the time of writing none are in service.

Wheelchair spaces onboard are frequently occupied by baby buggies. This is despite the fact that TfL’s rules for drivers clearly state that wheelchair users have priority. If a buggy is occupying the wheelchair space, we would advise bus travellers to request the driver’s intervention, using the PA system to request that the space is vacated, or that the buggy is folded. If that fails, the driver must radio the garage so that the driver of the next bus is told to ensure that an unoccupied space is available. Here is the relevant section from the bus drivers’ rule book or ‘Big Red Book’:

What if people don’t make room? you must ask passengers to move. use the ibus pre-recorded message at first. remember, the wheelchair priority area is the only place wheelchair users can travel safely. if other passengers seem unwilling to make space for a wheelchair user: use the pa system to explain that the wheelchair priority area is the only safe place for wheelchair users to travel. it can be stressful travelling with children in buggies, so be polite as this is more likely to get passengers to cooperate. sometimes it is possible for a wheelchair and an unfolded buggy to share the priority area. it would be helpful to explain this to the wheelchair user and buggy owner, as they will be happier with that outcome and you will feel more in control of the situation. you should allow this provided the wheelchair user is in the correct position and the buggy is not blocking the gangway explain you’ll give them the time they need to move or fold down their buggy and do not move off until they are safely repositioned. if a buggy owner already on the bus is willing to get off to provide more space for another buggy or wheelchair user, you should issue a transfer voucher to allow them to travel on another bus (see page 32).if passengers are unwilling to move, despite your request, do not make them leave the bus: explain to the wheelchair user they will need to catch the next bus and the reason why. do not close the doors and move off until you have done this if the wheelchair user has to wait, contact your garage so the driver of the next bus can be made aware

Mobility Scooters

The Mobility Aid recognition scheme can provide a card to owners of scooters that TfL have approved for travel on buses. Not all scooters are allowed on buses so check first. You can use your mobility scooter on buses if the Mobility Aid is a class 2 mobility scooter and it has the following dimensions: maximum width is 600mm; maximum length is 1000mm; maximum turning radius is 1200mm.

If you own one of the approved scooters, call TfL’s Travel Mentoring Service on 020 3054 4361. They will issue you with a card, which will let bus drivers know your scooter can fit into the space.


If you do not have a card, but useone of the approved types of scooter, you should still be allowed to board the bus, as long as your mobility scooter doesn’t exceed the following dimensions: maximum width is 600mm; maximum length is 1000mm; maximum turning radius is 1200mm..

If you experience any problems with drivers not permitting you to travel, please call us on 020 7737 2339.

Ramps

No London bus should leave the garage with a faulty ramp. Unfortunately many still do and they are often not reported in time. Some bus companies are better than others when it comes to ramp maintenance. If you encounter a bus with a faulty ramp, or a ramp which is difficult to use – report it! The bus company does not get paid for journeys which are made with a faulty ramp, so the more that we report it, the more incentive there is for companies to get tough on broken ramps.

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 driver has been trained to operate this function when requested – they only have to push a button.

iBus

All 8000 London buses use Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) technology. This system informs passengers of the bus location with visual displays and audio announcements. If the system does not seem to be working, speak to the driver.

Assistance Dogs

Assistance dogs are welcome on all buses and may travel upstairs or downstairs. The driver is not allowed to refuse entry to an assistance dog – this is the law.

Reporting Problems

If a wheelchair ramp is broken or the driver does not carry out the correct procedure contact us on 020 7737 2339 or contactus@transportforall.org.uk and we can take up your complaint with TfL.

See also our complaints section for more information.

The Drivers’ Instruction Manual or ‘Big Red Book’

Transport for London produces the Big Red Book. This is given to all bus drivers and explains the standards that are expected of them. It includes quite detailed information about disabled passengers, and clearly states our rights, such as priority in the wheelchair space etc.

Thanks to a Freedom of Information request, the book is available for the public to view. Click here for more info or on the document at the bottom of this page.

To find out which bus company operates a certain route, you can call our office on 020 7737 2339 and we will look it up for you.