Travel information for people with mobility difficulties

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Disabled people have rights of access in relation to motoring, transport and travel infrastructure, such as bus and railway stations, ferry terminals and airports, under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA). The Act also means that disabled people have a right to information about transport - timetables, for example - in a format that is accessible to them where it is reasonable for the transport provider to provide it in that format. Further information on your rights under the DDA is available on the Directgov website.

Transport Scotland provides information on accessible travel to make it easier for people with mobility difficulties to travel within Scotland. This document contains information about what transport services are provided within Scotland and links to other websites which provide more detailed information.

Contents:

Ferries & Ferry Ports

Most of the ferry companies operating within and to and from Scotland use ships which are accessible to people with all disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs.

If you need help with boarding and disembarking you should give the ferry company as much notice as possible, so that they can make alternative arrangements.

The following links give information on accessibility for the relevant operators:

Other ferry companies operating within Scotland include:

Other ferry companies operating to and from Scotland are:

Ferry Ports

There are hundreds of ferry ports in Scotland. These are best accessed by clicking on the individual ferry company websites.

Links to some of the main ports are given below:

Additional Information

The Ports and harbours of the UK website lists information on all ferry ports. This website is an unofficial site developed by enthusiasts but contains lots of information.

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Airlines & Airports

Under European legislation no-one should be refused travel on a commercial flight to or from Scotland on the basis of their disability or reduced mobility, subject to legitimate air safety considerations.

To allow the airlines to make any necessary alternative arrangements, you should give them as much notice as possible. This usually means telling them about your particular needs when you are making your booking.

As from 26 July 2008, European legislation on air travel has meant that the managing bodies of airports have to provide services that enable disabled passengers to board, disembark and transit between flights. Airlines are responsible for assistance on board the aircraft.

Scotland has four main airports; the links below take you to information on Passengers with Reduced Mobility (PRM’s):

The main airlines operating in and out of Scotland are:

Additional Information

Air Transport Users Council, the UK's consumer council for air travellers, help individual passengers with complaints and enquiries about air travel and promote the interests of passengers with industry, government and regulators.

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Travelling by car

Speed Limits

Speed limits in Scotland are in miles per hour. In general, the speed limits are 30 mph in towns, 70 mph on motorways and dual carriageways and 60 mph on country roads, however most roads will have their speed limits signed. Some areas have other speed limits and these are shown in mph as you enter the area.

The Blue Badge Scheme

If you have been issued with a Blue Badge for your car, then you can use it here. There is no need to display a time clock when you use your Blue Badge in Scotland. Remember, a blue badge is not a license to park anywhere. You still have to obey the rules of the road and should not park where it would endanger, inconvenience or obstruct pedestrians or other road users.

The parking concessions provided under the Blue Badge Scheme only apply to on-street parking. They do not apply in off-street car parks, such as supermarkets or Roads Service car parks. Badge holders usually have to pay to use car parks here. To find more information on the Blue Badge Scheme (or if you live here and would like to apply for a Blue Badge) please visit the Blue Badge website.

Further Information

The Disabled Persons' Parking Places (Scotland) Act 2009 will lead to all on-street disabled parking places being enforceable within the next year.

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Travelling by bus

The majority of bus services in Scotland are provided by commercial bus operators.

Bus Companies

The provision of local bus services is generally a matter for individual bus operators who use their own commercial judgement on service routes and frequencies. Under the Transport Act 1985, local transport authorities have a duty to identify where there is a social need for particular bus services and to subsidise these at their discretion. This procedure allows local authorities to influence the frequency and routing of services, including off-peak services.

The main Bus operators in Scotland are;

Concessionary Fares

Concessionary fares are available for people aged 60 and over and people with disabilities for bus services. Concessionary fare holders who live on islands are also allowed 2 return ferry trips a year. There is also a young person's concessionary card scheme for people in full-time education aged between 16 and 19. The scheme offers one-third discount for bus and rail fares. If you have a concessionary fare pass from any other administration, it will not work here.

If you live in Scotland and would like more information on concessionary fares, please visit the concessionary travel site.

Further Information

Traveline Scotland operates an online journey planner to help you plan your trips on public transport and also provides a telephone service on 0871 200 2233. Lines are open 24 hours every day. Calls cost 10p/min from BT landlines. Charges from other providers or mobiles may vary.

The Traffic Scotland website contains real‑time traffic information.

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Travelling by rail

Rail Companies

The ScotRail passenger rail franchise is one of the biggest contracts led by Scottish Ministers and is managed by Transport Scotland. The contract was awarded to FirstGroup on 20 August 2004 and First ScotRail started operating services on 17 October 2004. Scotland’s rail network has around 347 railway stations and 2735 kilometres of track; over 80 million passenger journeys are made on the network each year.

Our website contains information about Scotland's rail network including a section on disabled access to the rail network

Tickets can be purchased in the following ways before travel:

  • In person at a station ticket office, travel centre (or one of 850 licensed travel agents in Britain) or by machine. Many large stations now have low level self service ticket machines, induction loops and other accessibility improvements.
  • Online, in-advance, on the National Rail Enquiries website and the Trainline website or through some TOC websites.

The facilities at individual stations can be on the Scotrail website. Alternatively information can be found on the National Rail Enquiries website or by contacting the National Rail Enquiry Service (NRES) on 08457 48 49 50.This service provides train times and can connect the caller through to a Train Operating Company (TOC) service agent to buy tickets and make reservations. NRES can also connect through to the Disabled Persons Railcard helpline and all TOC assistance booking lines.

Tickets should be purchased wherever possible before travel with penalty fares operating in some areas. However, as part of all TOCs Disabled People's Protection Policies (DPPP), if a disabled person is unable to buy a ticket before travel due to their disability, discounted and leisure priced tickets will be available on the train or at the destination. Scotrail's website contains information on DPPP.

Train Operating Companies (TOCs)

The main TOCs operating in Scotland are:

Concessionary Fares

Apart from the Young Persons' Travel Scheme there is no Scotland-wide rail concession. The scheme allows all 16 - 18 year olds and young full-time volunteers up to the age of 25 1/3 off rail fares throughout Scotland. At their discretion, local authorities can provide rail travel concessions for their residents. Information on what is provided in each area will be available from individual local authorities.

ScotRail also participates in the national Railcard schemes which offer 1/3 of rail fares. If you have a concessionary fare pass from any other administration, it will not work here. If you live in Scotland and would like more information on concessionary fares, please visit Transport Scotland’s concessionary travel website.

The National Concessionary Scheme for the Blind provides free rail travel on all passenger services within Scotland for people who live in Scotland and who are registered blind, concessions for visually impaired travellers are also available. The scheme is set up and managed voluntarily by Scotland's 32 local authorities. Some local authorise also offer concessionary fares to a blind person’s travelling companion, but this is not offered by all authorities and full fares are charged depending on what area of Scotland you are travelling in.

If you are registered blind or visually impaired and live in Scotland, you should contact your own local authority for more information and an application form.

Glasgow Subway/Edinburgh Trams

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport operates the Glasgow Subway - accessibility information is available on the SPT website.

City of Edinburgh Council is currently constructing a tramline in the city that will run from Edinburgh Airport to Leith. The tramline is expected to be operational by 2013. Further information can be viewed. Edinburgh Trams produced a report on their Disability Consultation in 2009.

Accessibility of Stations

Stations Made Easy is National Rail Enquires online information service which provides plans and photographs of every station in Britain. You can determine accessible routes at each station and plan your route in advance to avoid steps, steep ramps etc. All station facilities are also shown so passengers can know where waiting rooms, help points, toilets, ships, café's etc are within stations.

Further Information

Describe Online provides online text based descriptions of layout and facilities at 30 major stations in Scotland (20 more to be added in 2010).

Network Rail owns and operates Britain’s rail infrastructure.

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Travelling by taxi/private hire car

Taxi

A taxi may ply for hire in a public place for a journey beginning there and then. It can be hailed in the street, outside a station, hotel or other public place and may also accept pre-booked work.

Private Hire Car

A private hire car must be pre-booked and may not be hailed on the street, nor may they ply for hire in a public place.

In the interests of public safety members of the public are advised only to use licensed vehicles. Licensed taxis and private hire cars throughout Scotand are required to display a plate bearing the vehicle licence number showing that they are appropriately licensed by their local authority. Drivers also are required to display similar identification.

Further Information

Many Councils offer Shopmobility, a list of schemes in Scotland can found in the Shopmobility Scheme Directory.

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Community transport

Community transport services in Scotland are provided by a number of operators.

For information on local services you should contact the Scottish Community Transport Association in Galashiels on 01896 668 855.

Further Information

The Community Transport Glasgow website contains information on the provision of transport to communities and groups in and around Glasgow.

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Staying in Scotland

Scotland is renowned for its friendly people and natural beauty.

From castles to zoos, museums to art galleries, Scotland boasts a large number of quality visitor attractions. Whether you are touring the country, taking in a sight or two on a short break, or enjoying a day out with the family, Scotland has the perfect place for you to visit.

For information on things to do and places to stay, visit the Visit Scotland website.

Further Information

Accessible accomodation guidelines can be accessed at visitscotland accessibility infornation.

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Other information on accessibility

Transport operators are committed to making continual improvements to services to meet the needs of people with disabilities.

Carriage of Accessibility Equipment

Information on the carriage of accessibility equipment on public transport Services can be found on the operator websites.

Carriage of Assistance Dogs

Information on the carriage of assistance dogs on public transport Services can be found on the operator websites.

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Further advice/advisory bodies

The Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland (MACS) was established by the Transport (Scotland) Act 2001 in 2002 as an Advisory Public Body to give advice to Scottish Ministers on matters relating to the needs of disabled persons in connection with transport.

MACS provides advice on accessibility, in relation to transport and works with private and public operators on the planning and regulating of transport facilities to ensure that they are accessible for those with a disability.

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Contact details

If you have any problem you should complain first of all to the transport operator.

Contacting Transport Scotland

If you would like to contact Transport Scotland please use the following details:

Transport Policy Directorate
Transport Scotland
Victoria Quay
Edinburgh,
EH6 6QQ
Email: info@transportscotland.gsi.gov.uk

Journey Information

Journey planning and live traffic updates

Journey planning and live traffic updates