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Traveling on public transport is an important part of independent living. But if you’ve never done it before it can be a bit scary. In this guide we’ll help you get started.


Charlie's story

When he was younger Charlie was anxious about taking public transport. These days Charlie is a confident traveller.

In this film he goes on a journey by train and bus to find out what support is available to young disabled people.

Press the play button to watch the film.

Why learn to travel

Different people have different reasons for wanting to take public transport:

  • “I can follow my football team to watch games”
  • “I can go and meet my friends whenever I like”
  • “It makes me feel independent”
  • “I travel to college every day so I can get a qualification”

How to get started

If you have never used public transport before you might need some support to get started.

You might want to ask a relative or more experienced friend to take you out the first few times as you get used to using public transport.

If you prefer, you could try a travel training course. Travel training teaches you everything you need to know about traveling independently. 

Some schools and colleges offer travel training to their students. And many local authorities offer travel training to young people with SEND in their area. You can find the Local Offer for your area on our Near Me page.  

Charlie stands in front of a London bus holding a KIDS-branded microphone and smiling

Getting Support

The law says that companies that run train and bus services have to provide support to disabled people.

Here are some of the things they have to do. Click on a title to see more. 

  • All train companies and train stations must have an Accessible Travel Policy. That is a document that tells you all the support they can offer disabled people. You can usually find that on their website. Or you can phone them to ask for it.
  • If you need help to plan your journey you can phone train and bus companies.

Train companies have to provide assistance for disabled people at train stations. That can be things like:

  • helping you find you way about the station
  • taking you to the correct train
  • supporting you to get on and off the train
  • carrying your luggage

Sometimes you might have to book support in advance. But all travel companies have to provide some level of support even if you haven’t booked it.

Bus companies have to make sure that their buses are accessible and their drivers offer support to disabled people. Here are some of the things they have to provide:

  • space for a wheelchair
  • a boarding device to enable wheelchair users to get on and off the bus
  • priority seats for disabled passengers
  • handrails to assist disabled people
  • easy-to-use bell pushes throughout the vehicle
    audible and visible signals to stop a vehicle or to request a support to board the bus
  • displays showing the route and destination of the bus
  • As you saw in the film, some travel companies provide travel mentor services that will help you plan your travel and come with you on your first few journeys as you get more confidence.

Your rights

If you want to find out more about your rights the government has more information here.

“I hope when you’ve practised a couple of times you like traveling just like me!”


Charlie sits on a train looking relaxed and holding a microphone while a camera films him.

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  • Preferred Name: Órla
  • Role at KIDS: Wellbeing co-ordinator.
  • About me: I run the online well-being groups and a group in Wandsworth. I am also a playworker! I have a background in Art therapy. 
  • Fun facts: I love different wheels! I have roller-skates, a surf-skate board and a bike. 


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