You wait all day for a bus..

Travelling by bus

Bus travel is a lifeline for many people in our community. Buses are frequent, cover local routes and are often cheaper than using trains and taxis. Our Futures group have recently taken two bus journeys; one from Epsom to Kingston and one from Victoria Station to Paddington Station in London. While bus travel is convenient and offers a great deal of freedom and independence, we found some obstacles along the way.

What worked well?

  • All 8,000 London buses and the vast majority of buses operating in Surrey are classed as accessible, meaning that they can be comfortably accessed by wheelchair users (with some exceptions for extra-large electric chairs)
  • Assistance dogs are welcome on all buses too
  • There is (usually) no need to make arrangements in advance

What made it difficult?

  • Last year, changes to concessionary bus passes came into force restricting use between 9.30am and 11pm, impacting people’s ability to travel to work etc.
  • Other passengers aren’t always aware that wheelchair users take priority over pushchairs
  • Signage does not take hidden disabilities into consideration
  • The design of the wheelchair space means it can be difficult to manoeuvre the chair into position. On our bus trip from Victoria to London, the driver started to drive before we could secure our wheelchair safely
  • Buses tend to only accommodate one wheelchair, meaning that you will have to wait for another bus

Useful tips

  • If applicable, apply for a companion bus pass which will allow a companion to travel with you for free
  • Sutton Community Transport offer free travel training to increase confidence and encourage independent travel, especially among vulnerable groups (find out more here)
  • If you need to sit down, there are priority seats available
  • If using a wheelchair, allow extra time for your journey as each bus only has one designated wheelchair area. You might need to wait for a bus with a free space