After sustaining a serious spinal cord injury, you may find the idea of using public transport a daunting one.

Understandably, you might have a number of questions that’s placing more stress, doubt and anxiety on your ability to travel: “How on earth can I travel long distance? Can I even take the train? And will it be safe for me to do so?”

Although your mobility may be restricted, you can still use public transport with ease. Your rights are protected under the Equality Act 2010. By law, it is a requirement for each mode of public transport to be fully accessible to wheelchair users. 

This means that there will be important adjustments in place to maximise the comfort of your journey. When you take the bus, there will be priority spaces available for you to park your wheelchair. And when you take the train, a ramp will be provided for you to get on and off the vehicle. Everything should be catered to suit the demands of your spinal injury. 

It’s always a good idea to plan ahead

Similar to travelling abroad, it’s best to plan ahead to ensure that your trip goes as smoothly as possible. Thankfully, this can take little or no time because of the technology available to us. Travel operators are likely to have a personalised trip planner on their website that’s usually provided with a mobile app. 

With your mobile, you can identify the most efficient and accessible routes available. Additionally, you should notify the company that you’re travelling with of the nature of your disability, especially if you’re planning on travelling long distances. 

For example, if you’re going to take the train make sure you do so at least 24 hours in advance. Doing so will enable them to designate someone to assist you on and off the train, typically with a ramp, ensuring that all of your needs are attended to. 

Most trains in the UK are able to accommodate wheelchairs that are 70cm wide and 120 cm long. However, this isn’t the case with some older trains, which can only carry wheelchairs with a maximum width of 67cm. Either way, it’s always best to double check with your rail franchise before buying your tickets.

Want to speak to a specialist about using transport with your spinal injury?

If you have any questions or queries about using transport as a wheelchair user, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of SIA. You will speak to a specialist who will help remove any anxieties or doubt that you may have. 

Talk to a specialist today for free advice – ring our support line today.