Public Transport: Disabled Passenger Rights

Passengers with disabilities have rights on public transportation. This guide outlines the protections that disabled passengers have while flying. 

Train Transportation Provider Obligations 

Open travel policies must be developed and enforced by all licensed train and station operators (ATP). The ATP of an operator specifies the quality of services and facilities that disabled passengers can expect, as well as how to obtain assistance and seek assistance if anything goes wrong. The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) permits and controls compliance with the ATP specifications by train and station operators. 

Each operator’s assistance varies slightly, but at a minimum, all operators must provide: 

  • Passenger assistance should be available at all stations during the hours that trains are expected to arrive. Until March 31, 2020, reservations must be made 24 hours in advance. 
  • alternative accessible transportation: if a station is inaccessible, operators must provide a suitable alternative service to the nearest, most convenient, accessible station without charge. 

If this has not been arranged in advance, assistance must be given based on the circumstances at the time of travel as well as personnel availability. 

  • tickets and fares: if disabled passengers are unable to buy a ticket in advance, they must be able to do so on the train or at the station without penalty. 
  • suitcases: When assistance has been requested in advance, operators must ensure that personnel will be available to assist. 
  • Scooter carriage: operators must make their policies clear in an ATP, particularly any policy that forbids the carriage of scooters. 
  • Operators must provide up-to-date information about facility and service accessibility, timetables, fares, connections and delays, interruption, diversions, and emergencies to passengers. 
  • Aural and visual information: a pledge to provide transparent and accurate aural and visual information on train departures whenever possible. 

If you’re eligible for a disabled person’s railcard (DPRC), you can save up to a third on adult rail fares by applying for one. You’ll need to have proof of a relevant impairment. 

Process for rail grievances and compliance 

If you are a disabled passenger and are disappointed with the rail service offered, you can contact the train operator. If you are not happy with the answer, you may contact the Rail Ombudsman, an independent body. The Rail Ombudsman was created by the rail industry to investigate and rule on unresolved customer grievances, with the authority to make binding decisions. 

ORR is in charge of ensuring that train operating companies are adhering to their ATP obligations. 


You must notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency if you are driving and have a medical condition or impairment (DVLA). 

Information about: 

The DVLA website has all the knowledge you need, such as how to learn to drive and how to get insurance. 

If you can get a Blue Badge, you’ll be able to park closer to your destination. Local governments are in charge of administering the program. A Blue Badge can be applied for online or by contacting the local council. 

The Motability Program: You can opt to join ‘The Motability Program’ if you obtain a qualifying benefit. The program will assist you in leasing a: 

Wheelchair scooter driven by a car 

Disability benefits that include a passport to the scheme are administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). While the DWP collaborates closely with Motability, the latter is an autonomous charitable organization that is solely responsible for the scheme’s terms and administration. As a result, Motability should be contacted with any queries. 

The system for filing car complaints and applying it 

The Motability Scheme: Complaints may be sent directly to The Motability Scheme through a complaint form, phone, email, or postal mail. Motability will make every attempt to settle grievances immediately or within eight weeks of their receipt. If you are dissatisfied with how your case was treated, you can file a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service, which is free of charge. 

Blue Badge Scheme: If you’ve been denied a Blue Badge, you can petition the council to reconsider their decision. If you think the decision was taken wrongly, you may contact the Local Government Ombudsman. The Ombudsman looks at allegations of discrimination brought about by bad management or poor service. Visit your nearest Citizen Advice for more details on the application process and how to file a complaint. 

Coaches and vans 

Obligations placed on car transport companies 

Physical accessibility: Starting January 1, 2020, buses and coaches equipped to carry more than 22 passengers on local and scheduled routes must comply with the Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR). 

Driver responsibilities: The Public Service Vehicles (Conduct of Drivers, Inspectors, Conductors, and Passengers) Regulations 1990 (the “Conduct Regulations”) enable drivers of public service vehicles to provide disabled passengers with certain forms of assistance, such as deploying boarding ramps and lifts as required, assisting wheelchair users to board and alight the vehicle, and so on. 

Local transport authorities (LTAs) are usually in charge of roadside infrastructure supporting bus services, including bus stations and stops, and passengers can contact the appropriate authority if facilities are insufficiently available to meet their needs. LTAs and other public bodies are bound by the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) and the duty to make fair amendments under the Equality Act 2010. 

Local Buses in England: Concessionary Travel: In England, the statutory bus concession offers free off-peak local bus travel to qualifying older and disabled people. The conditions for qualifying for the concession are spelled out in the rule. 

Complaints about buses and coaches, as well as the compliance process 

Accessibility on the physical level: The Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) and the Office of the Traffic Commissioner are in charge of ensuring PSVAR enforcement (OTC). Passengers who suspect a bus or coach covered by PSVAR is not following the rules should report their complaints to the DVSA for further investigation. 

Driver responsibilities: If passengers believe that a bus or coach driver has failed to provide assistance that is needed by the Conduct Regulations or that may constitute a fair change, we encourage them to report directly to the service operator. If the operator is unable to settle a complaint, passengers can contact: 

Bus Users UK is an alternate conflict settlement body for bus and coach passengers in the United Kingdom outside of London, and London TravelWatch is for complaints in London. 

Stations and exits for buses: Passengers who suspect an LTA has behaved inappropriately can file a complaint with the Local Government Ombudsman or seek legal advice on their own. 

Concessionary travel: Those who claim they have been denied a concessionary permit unlawfully should file a complaint with the appropriate authority first, then escalate to the Local Government Ombudsman if required. Concessionary travel is a devolved policy sector, and the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are responsible for determining what concessions are available. 

Obligations for taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) transportation providers 

Passengers with disabilities who travel by taxi or PHV have a variety of rights, including: 

Section 165 of the Equality Act 2010, which requires non-exempt drivers of taxis and PHVs designated as wheelchair accessible to accept wheelchair users, provide appropriate assistance, and refrain from charging them more than the standard fare; section 20 of the Equality Act 2010, which requires service providers to make reasonable adjustments to allow them to access their services; and section 20 of the Equality Act 2010, which requires non-exempt drivers of taxis and PHVs designated as wheelchair accessible to accept wheelchair users, provide appropriate assistance, and refrain from 

Regulated taxis must be wheelchair accessible in some places (mostly larger cities). To find out if there are accessible taxis near you, contact your local council’s taxi licensing office. 

Both black cabs in London are wheelchair accessible. Hearing aid users may use induction loops and intercoms in some of the newer black cabs. 

In addition to the regulations about wheelchairs and assistance dogs, all taxi and minicab drivers must ensure that you are not discriminated against and that you are not handled less favourably than other customers. 

They should also make some “fair changes” to their service to make your journey go more smoothly.

Complaints and compliance procedures for taxis and PHVs 

Passengers who believe a driver has violated Sections 165, 168, or 170 of the Equality Act 2010 should first notify the appropriate Local Licensing Authority (LLA). LLAs are typically the local district or unitary authority, and are often marked by a notice displayed in or on licensed vehicles. Taxis and PHVs are authorised by Transport for London on behalf of the Boroughs in London. 

Passengers who suspect a driver has failed to make appropriate changes in accordance with Section 20 of the Equality Act 2010 are advised to contact the related LLA first. They should, however, prefer to engage their own legal counsel about the possibility of legal action. 

Finally, passengers can contact the LLA for information on taxi and PHV service accessibility in their location, as well as the steps being taken to improve it. If they believe the LLA’s actions are improper or inadequate, they should file a complaint with the appropriate authority. If a complaint is not addressed, it can be referred to the Local Government Ombudsman. 

Maritime Shipping Companies’ Commitments 

Maritime passenger privileges entitle travelers, subject to conditions and exceptions, to a percentage cost refund if they are delayed. 

Passengers who are disabled or have limited mobility are entitled to the following benefits: 

  • Acceptance for carriage unless safety issues warrant refusal; free assistance in ports for embarkation, disembarkation, and on board vessels; but no caring functions 
  • staff who have been educated to consider the needs of disabled people 
  • assisting you National pet laws apply to dogs being transported. 
  • Medical and mobility equipment to be required on board where it is appropriate for the voyage ports and vessels that are fully available, but there is no retrofitting requirement, so compliance can take time. 

Reduced mobility refers to someone whose mobility is impaired when using public transportation due to a physical disability (sensory or locomotor, permanent or temporary), an intellectual disability or impairment, or some other age-related cause of disability, and whose condition necessitates special care and adaptation to the service offered to all passengers. 

Method for filing complaints and enforcing maritime laws 

Enforcing the law is the responsibility of the Maritime Coastguard Agency. Complaints are managed in a three-tiered system: 

Make a complaint to the operator to give them a chance to fix the issue. Send a complaint to the relevant voluntary complaint handling agency for the type of voyage in question. Make a complaint to the MCA, which is in charge of enforcing the law. 

On GOV.UK, you can learn more about the rights of maritime passengers. 

Aviation Transportation Companies’ Obligations 

Aviation passenger rights stipulate that appropriate assistance, both at the airport and on board the aircraft, must be delivered at no cost to the passenger. This includes, but is not limited to, the following items: 

assistance with check-in and luggage assistance with baggage storage and retrieval assistance with emigration, customs, and security procedures 

transporting up to two pieces of mobility equipment in addition to medical equipment to the bathroom if necessary 

Traveling with a friend: If you need assistance with eating, breathing, taking medicine, or using the bathroom, you must travel with a companion. If you let the airline know at least 48 hours before departure, they will do all they can to make sure you sit next to each other. 

Assistance dogs: On permitted roads, assistance or guide dogs are allowed in the cabin free of charge. Larger dogs are typically seated on the floor, while smaller dogs may be held in the owner’s lap. 

You don’t have to be chronically or clearly disabled to get assistance, so anybody who has trouble getting about, whether due to a disability, age, or a temporary injury, will get assistance while traveling. 

Assistance should be requested at least 48 hours ahead of time, but if you offer less notice or none at all, fair attempts must still be made to help you. 

Assistance should be requested from the airline at least 48 hours ahead of time, but if less notice is given, or no notice is given at all, appropriate attempts must be made to assist you. 

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK’s aviation regulator, will provide you with more precise knowledge about your rights while flying. 

Method for filing complaints and implementing regulations in the aviation industry 

A designated complaints body must be in place to deal with any suspected violation of the rule, according to the law. 

To begin, a person should contact the airline or airport directly with their complaint. If the person has done this and is unhappy with the answer they have received, they can: 

Send their case to a body that handles alternative dispute resolution (ADR). 

If an airline or airport does not have an ADR agreement, they will file a complaint with the CAA. 

Take disciplinary action of your own. 

Some airlines and airports are members of ADR, an association that has been accredited by the CAA for offering a high level of customer dispute resolution. 

If a person is unhappy with an airline’s or airport’s response, or if they have not received a final response in 8 weeks or more, they may be able to take their complaint directly to an ADR body. 

Only such grievances are handled by ADR bodies, but they include issues faced by disabled passengers or passengers with limited mobility while using air transportation services. 

Both ADR bodies and the CAA will provide advice about whether the case is legitimate, and if so, will pursue it with the company in question. The CAA complaints team, on the other hand, is unable to force a decision on an airline, while CAA-approved ADR bodies can.

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