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Using buses under social distancing conditions, when needing disability seating / space

Maggie_PieMaggie_Pie Member Posts: 22 Courageous
I have been staying at home and intend to continue to do so for the foreseeable future even though a limited bus service has started up again where I live.  Apart from anything else, I use a mobility aid, so I have concerns about negotiating suitable space, which was difficult enough prior to social distancing, should I need to take a bus in an emergency (going for medication, for instance).  Is there any advice specific to disabled passengers in my circumstances on how best to negotiate transport should I need to do so?

Replies

  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 3,523 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi welcome to the community great to have you on board.

    What sort of aid do you use , would it be possible to use a taxi rather than a bus until things are a bit safer to travel 
  • ross2503ross2503 Member Posts: 91 Pioneering
    Hi @Maggie_Pie :) 

    I'm quite anxious about this issue myself, I'm severely sight impaired and social distancing is something I'm going to find difficult when I start going out frequently again, regardless of where I'm going. 

    I'm in particular concerned about how I'll navigate transport though, when I get on a bus I struggle to clearly spot empty seats unless I'm right by them.

    Firstly I would recommend doing research into your local transport provider, to find out what their procedures are so that you can be as prepared as possible for when you make a journey. Your transport provider should also list any advice for someone with a disability on their website. 

    Secondly, I'm not sure what your personal circumstances are but maybe it would be worth asking a family member or other loved one to travel with you, or at least help you onto the bus.

    As @janer1967 says, it might also be worth travelling by taxi or car if possible. 



  • Maggie_PieMaggie_Pie Member Posts: 22 Courageous
    Hello and thank you for replying.  It's great to hear from both of you.

    I use a sturdy 4-wheel rollator, which needs to be sturdy as I am unsteady on my feet.  I have been doing research and it seems that the rules for disabled bus users are the same as they were prior to the need for social distancing, with the latter potentially worsening the situation.
    At https://www.stagecoachbus.com/help-and-contact/national/accessibility-faqs Stagecoach state:

    Q. How has social distancing changed the way you carry wheelchairs, prams and buggies?

    A. To allow for social distancing on board, we can now only carry one wheelchair or one unfolded pram/buggy. Priority will be given to wheelchair users and, if there’s is already a wheelchair or unfolded pram on board, you’ll be asked to fold your pram/buggy. If this isn’t possible, please wait for the next bus.
    If you’re already on the bus with an unfolded pram/buggy when a wheelchair user needs to get on, please fold your pram/buggy, if possible, so that we don’t have to refuse travel to a wheelchair user.

     It is as I feared, namely I risk being told to wait for the next bus.  Under the temporary timetable in place, they are only one an hour and by no means all bus stops have shelters.  There is also the matter of loos being closed.

    I cannot afford taxis.  Last year I took one to a town less than 5 miles away and it cost £15.

    Things could be better for you, ross2503, given the following:

    Q. I’m visually impaired. How will I know where to sit on the bus?

    A. Please ask your driver and they’ll be happy to clearly give you verbal directions to the nearest available seat. If you'd like your driver to walk with you to your seat, just ask and let them know how you prefer to be guided. If you're travelling with your guide dog, your driver will try, where possible, to seat you in an accessible seating area. We have Journey Assistance Cards that you can show to the driver to let them know that you need additional help.

    Best wishes.

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