Mobility scooters are great and all, but sometimes you need help getting that little bit further on your journey. For example, you have family or friends in the next town over but it’s too far to go on a single charge, that shouldn’t stop you from socialising. At least, we think so.
But what happens if you get to the train station or bus stop with your mobility scooter and the driver says no? Are they allowed to refuse? How do you get anywhere otherwise, especially if you don’t have relatives or friends you can rely on to drive you?
The truth is, the legal framework for taking mobility scooters on public transport is pretty darn confusing, with way too many variables which differ across the country. Whether or not you’re allowed to take your mobility scooter on the bus or train depends on what class of invalid carriage you’re using, where you live and the company operating the service.
Class 3 scooters are, unfortunately, not allowed on public transport on account of their higher speed and usually, increased weight and size. Only Class 2 scooters may be taken onto trains and buses, and your vehicle must be less than 60cm wide and 100cm long. The combined weight of the scooter and its user also should not be more than the safe working load of the ramp used to board the bus, which is usually 300kg.
However, final decision is largely left up to the driver’s judgement, leading to many mobility scooter users, particularly in the capital, feeling discriminated against or disadvantaged. The guidelines being given to drivers are also pretty inconsistent with what’s being told to users, suggesting that anything with handlebars isn’t allowed on.
Some councils and bodies, including Transport for London, have begun rolling out permit schemes to regularise the use of mobility vehicles on public transport. Information about this is available in your area will be available through your local council.
The best thing to do, if a tad inconvenient, is to make your train or bus company aware that you will be needing assistance at least 24 hours before you plan to travel, or contact the company in question to ask about their mobility scooter policy.
At Wild & Wacky, we will give you a full product demonstration of whichever mobility scooter we provide that catches your eye, which includes informing you whether it is suitable for use on public transport and showing you how to safely get on and off of trains and buses if so.