Providing Learning Support for Students with Mobility Impairments Undertaking Fieldwork and Related Activities

Practical Matters

In this section we gather together some guidance on some essentially practical matters, including:

Travel

Students using their own vehicles will usually be aware of the financial assistance they can receive, and the practical issues involved. They may possess an Orange Badge (now being replaced by Blue Badges) for parking in disabled parking spaces. The badge can be used throughout most of Great Britain, but there are some areas of central London which have their own schemes for people who live and work in the area. Access to certain town centres may be prohibited or limited to vehicles with special permits. The Orange Badge scheme does not apply to private roads or at airports. Blue Badges have not yet been introduced in Wales, where they continue to issue Orange Badges. More comprehensive information is available from the Department for Transport, Local Government and Regions (DTLR). For information on reciprocal parking schemes with Europe see http://www.crossd17.freeserve.co.uk/reciprocal%20park%20Europe.htm.

If travelling by train, fare concessions are available with a Disabled Person's Railcard. Details of discounts and who qualifies are in the booklet Rail Travel for Disabled Passengers, available from stations and travel centres. If help is needed in transferring between car and train or other special arrangements, it can be provided, but one should give at least two day's notice of the journey. Many main-line stations have accessible toilets for wheelchair users, opened with The Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation (RADAR) National Key Scheme, which provides access to over 4,000 public toilets. Most Inter-City trains now have wide access doors, automatic interior doors and handrails, and are accessible to wheelchair users by ramps kept at all stations. Most Standard Class coaches have a space for a wheelchair at one end, and space can be made in First Class, given advance notice. There are usually trolley refreshment services. Some trains have wheelchair accessible toilets. Sleeper compartments are not wheelchair-accessible, but Eurostar services are fully accessible to wheelchair users.

An increasing number of bus routes are served by low floor buses which are wheelchair accessible and much easier for anyone who experiences difficulty with steps. Regulations are being introduced under the DDA which will eventually require all public transport (including buses and coaches, trains, trams and licensed taxis) to be fully accessible by 2017 for disabled people, including wheelchair users. Some areas already have wheelchair accessible taxis and/or door to door transport services such as 'Dial-a-Ride'. Travel costs on local public transport may be free or subsidised by local authorities, some of which may have schemes such as taxi cards or vouchers for people, usually residents, unable to use public transport. Further information about accessible transport and concessionary fares may be obtained from County Council Public Transport Information Officers or the local Passenger Transport Executive (PTE). For London, a useful guide is the Access Guide Book for Disabled People, published by RADAR. Also useful is Access to the Underground: a step-by-step guide to each station for elderly and disabled people, from London Transport.

Other sources of information on travelling include:

Page updated 14 December 2001

GDN pages maintained by Phil Gravestock