When you’re a wheelchair user, thinking about how you’re going to get around and what your options are in terms of disabled access transport, can be an uphill battle. In this blog post, we’re going to break down some of the different public and private transport options available in the UK.
Private Transportation Options for Wheelchair Users:
Owning a car provides the greatest amount of flexibility in terms of mobility. If you or a family member is no longer able transfer themselves easily from their wheelchair to the driver’s or passenger’s seat of a car, then purchasing a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) is a good option. In inner-city areas where parking and mobility is limited, a smaller, more maneuverable WAV might be a much better option than a larger one.
Taxis and Minicabs
In many cities around the UK, it is now compulsory for all minicabs and taxis to be wheelchair accessible vehicles – which is fantastic news for wheelchair users. London City, for example, have made it compulsory for all licensed public taxis to be wheelchair accessible. In fact, some of the cabs which are in newer vehicles are also equipped with other facilities to make journeys more comfortable for individuals with disabilities.
Uber is the new giant of the private transport world. It uses the GPS software on your smartphone to indicate to their taxis where you are, and digitises the entire payment process, so that there’s no exchange of cash.
Although Uber has been extremely popular since its launch, there have been a number of worried voices among the disabled access community, as Uber’s vehicles are not specifically wheelchair accessible. Members of the disabled community have been especially anxious that Uber’s massive advances into the taxicab market could potentially push disabled access taxis off the market.
Public Transportation Options for Wheelchair Users
As stipulated by British Law, it all UK public buses are required to have vehicle to roadside ramps, and to make wheelchair accessible seats easily available for individuals who use wheelchairs and other mobility assistance equipment. The law also requires that bus personnel must make themselves available to any passengers who might require additional mobility assistance.
British Law requires that trains be fitted with platform to carriage level ramps, in order to make access easy for wheelchairs and motorised mobility device users. Under the same law, trains in the UK must have specifically designated areas in which wheelchairs can be stored and wheelchair users can travel in comfort without having to transfer to a train seat. There is also a guide available on the government’s’ mobility inclusive page which provides thorough and detailed information on the disabled access features of every single train station in the UK.
Up until very recently, the Underground presented the biggest challenge to wheelchair users and those with mobility issues. Underground transport is an important part of public transport, and, sadly, it has taken a while for it to catch up with buses and trains in terms of access for individuals with disabilities.
Developments in the law protecting mobility rights and access have helped to result in a dramatic increase in the disabled access facilities in underground railways across the UK. These measures include ensuring that stations have at least one disabled access option available.
In addition to these disabled access measures, undergrounds across the country have also made it a requirement to accurately inform subway users which stations are wheelchair accessible. The London underground, for example, provides a station-by-station breakdown of all of the disabled access stations in the city, which at the very minimum have a disabled access escalator, if not a street-level to platform lift.
Explore your Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Options with Nationwide Mobility. Check out Nationwide Mobility’s current range of vehicles or give us a call on 01824 707773.