Consumer research for older and disabled people

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Coaches

Coach services

Accessible coaches are operated by several companies: National Express, Oxford Tube, Megabus, Goldline (Northern Ireland) and City Link (Scotland).

National Express

The largest UK operator has access for wheelchairs on all of its coaches (but the toilet is not accessible).

Journey planning and booking

Information on coach and station access is available on the National Express website. Wheelchair users need to phone 36 hours in advance to check that their wheelchair fits in the space safely and securely, that the stops are accessible, and to book any assistance. When you book, the operator will ask for details of the make and model of your wheelchair, to make sure it's compatible with the docking system on the coach. National Express also have a helpline you can contact for more information:

Station facilities

Most stops operated by National Express are accessible - the code of practice on their website gives details. However, many of the stops served by National Express are not operated by them. Accessibility information is not available for these stops.

For their own stops, National Express provide information including

  • information on accessible toilets,
  • help points or staff available
  • accessible public telephones
  • induction loops for people who use hearing aids
  • manual wheelchairs available
  • clipboards and magnifying glasses
  • disabled parking and baby-changing facilities.

Megabus

  • If you're able to climb the steps, the driver will store your wheelchair or mobility scooter in the luggage hold and help you to your seat.
  • If you can't climb the steps, don't buy a ticket in the usual way. Instead, call the following contact at least 48 hours in advance. They'll allocate a wheelchair-accessible vehicle to your trip, if possible.

Megabus
Tel: 

0141 332 9644

Email: 

  • In Scotland, only Scottish Concessionary Entitlement Cards apply.

Oxford Tube

  • All coaches have a wheelchair space.
  • The driver will provide assistance with getting in and out. You can just turn up and travel.
  • Discounts are available for over-60s.

Goldline (Northern Ireland)

  • No mobility scooters are allowed but Goldline coaches will take any wheelchair.
  • Timetables indicate which routes use accessible coaches. To book an accessible coach for another route call the following contact. Book 24 hours in advance.

Goldline (Northern Ireland)
Tel: 

028 90 66 66 30

Email: 

  • The driver will usually help with boarding.
  • Northern Ireland residents over 60 can use their concessionary pass to get free travel. If you have a visual impairment, a learning disability, or receive a mobility component of DLA or PIP, then you are entitled to a Concessionary Smart Pass. For more information, see www.nidirect.gov.uk/free-bus-travel-and-concessions

City Link (Scotland)

  • The driver will assist passengers with mobility difficulties. If you don't need to stay in your wheelchair, they'll help you to a seat.
  • If you need to travel in your wheelchair, call the following contact at least 48 hours in advance. If it's possible on your route, City Link will provide a bus with a wheelchair lift.

Citylink (Scotland)
Tel: 

0141 322 9644

Email: 

  • In Scotland, only Scottish Concessionary Entitlement Cards apply.

Concessions

There is no national concessions scheme at present. Ask your coach operator if they offer any discounts. For example, National Express offers a Senior Coachcard for people who are 60 or over, and a Disabled Coachcard. They cost £12 and offer 1/3 off your travel throughout the year.

Access

Wheelchair user on coach liftAll new coaches on scheduled services that carry more than 22 passengers are now built to be wheelchair accessible. For wheelchair users, coaches are different to buses in that:

  • you access via a platform lift
  • the wheelchair space faces forward and has an anchoring system for the wheelchair and a seatbelt for the wheelchair passenger
  • entrances, exits and gangway floors do not slope more than 5°

Lightweight mobility scooters can be stowed in the luggage hold providing that they can be dismantled and the heaviest part weighs less than 20kg. Mobility scooter users cannot get on coaches on their scooter.

Route information

If you need extra information, such as alerting you as to which stop to get off, then talk to the driver. The driver is able to give announcements on the journey to keep you informed.

Reporting back and complaining 

If you have a complaint about any bus service or regular coach service, always first contact the bus or coach operator that provides the service. Tell the company about your complaint in as much detail as possible:

  • the exact date and time you were travelling
  • where you were travelling to and from, and the bus or coach number
  • the bus registration number, the driver's name or description - helpful but not essential

Enclose your ticket if you can, and keep a copy of your letter (or email) and ticket. Give the company time to get back to you.

If you don't get a reply, or you're not happy with the reply you got, then contact one of the following organisations, depending on where your journey was:

England, Wales and Scotland

London

Northern Ireland

Last updated: August 2015


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