Life with a spinal cord injury (SCI) and mobility problems does not equal being stuck at home. Getting around using various modes of transport is absolutely possible.
Public transport can be particularly useful, and it must be wheelchair accessible by law. That means there will be adjustments to everything from trains and trams to buses and coaches to maximise the comfort of your journey. Buses have priority spaces for parking wheelchairs, for example, and ramps can be provided at train stations for getting in and out of carriages. All public transport should meet everyone’s needs.
Being organised and knowing what to expect almost always makes journeys far smoother than with zero planning. Many travel operators have mobile apps to help with this, and they can be used to plan trips, find the best route, and buy and store tickets ready for scanning on the day of travel.
Letting the operator you plan to travel with know about your disability can also allow them to ensure they will be able to meet your needs on the day – this is especially important when planning long journeys. For example, get in touch with the train company you plan to travel with at least 24 hours in advance so that it can arrange for someone to help you and ensure you have everything you need.
Most UK trains can accommodate wheelchairs that are 70cm wide and 120cm long. However, this isn’t always the case with some older trains, which can carry wheelchairs with a maximum width of 67cm. Either way, it’s always best to double-check with a rail franchise before buying tickets.
What you take with you when you travel is equally important. Have a checklist ready of the things you might need, such as spare clothes, bladder and bowel management equipment and Radar keys.
If you prefer to drive yourself, look into the Motability scheme, which supports disabled people with access to affordable cars and wheelchair-accessible vehicles. Find out more here.
Speak to a SCI specialist about using transport
Our SCI support network coordinators are here to answer your questions and guide you through the process of using public transport. Call our freephone support line on 0800 980 0501 or click here to learn more.