After many years of lobbying for change, Transport for All welcomes the new regulations that will finally see mobility scooters allowed to ride on London’s buses.
Recent years have seen a huge rise in people using mobility scooters to get around. However in London there has been a situation where the official Transport for London (TfL) line was that no mobility scooters were permitted to board a bus. The Big Red Book – the guidance booklet issued to all of the capital’s 24,000 bus drivers had a picture of a mobility scooter with a cross through it. In reality some mobility scooter users had been using buses – but faced uncertainty every time they travelled as to whether they would be allowed on or not.
TfL’s new Mobility Aid Recognition scheme is aimed to make things clearer. Scooter owners will now be able to call TfL’s Travel Mentoring Service, who will ask a series of questions to check that the scooter is suited to bus travel. TfL have identified approximately 86 models of mobility scooter that can fit into the wheelchair space on London’s buses. If deemed suitable a Mobility Aid card (pictured) will be issued, which will let bus drivers know the scooter can fit into the space. Crucially the Big Red Book has been updated to this effect.
Scooters will be permitted on buses if they are a class 2 mobility scooter (i.e. not for road use, with an upper speed limit of 4mph) and it has the following dimensions:
- Maximum width: 600mm
- Maximum length: 1000mm
- Maximum turning radius: 1200mm
The scheme may also be used by people with manual and powered wheelchairs, mobility walkers or shopping trolleys, where these are used as a mobility aid.
If you would like to order a Mobility Aid card, please contact the Travel Mentoring Service on 020 3054 4361 or by emailing email@example.com. The Travel Mentoring team have also stated that they are able to offer advice about the easiest way to to board and alight from the bus.
Transport for All welcomes this new scheme which will give the thousands of people who rely on mobility aids much more freedom to travel around London. However, TfA is concerned that some people may be refused permission to board a bus if they do not have a card when their scooter or wheelchair is clearly suitable. We very much hope that all drivers will recieve the correct training and communication associated with the scheme.
London based scooter user Ollie Knocker had been frustrated by frequent refusals onto London’s buses, making him consistently late for work and putting his job at risk:
“Getting around London on public transport for me is a nightmare to say the least, confined to buses due to lack of disabled access on every other method. I was devastated when even this mode of transport was taken away because of simple lack of communication and training between TfL, the bus operators and finally their drivers. This Mobility Aid Card will not only given me back my freedom to independently travel across London but will also make it crystal clear to both people in powered chairs and the bus drivers what is and isn’t allowed to travel on the bus.“
Earlier this year TfL also launched the Travel Support Card, which can be used on all TfL’s modes of transport.
The card is filled in by the holder to specify what help they require and shown to a member of staff. It also includes space for the holders name and an emergency contact number.