Getting around independently
We understand that it's important for you to be able travel around Kent and beyond.
If you're choosing to use public transport, most transport providers publish their accessibility information online. Visit their websites to:
- check whether the station or stop has wheelchair ramps or accessible toilets
- find out if they have alternative information formats, like Braille or large print.
Or for general travel advice, we recommend you visit either Oliver's Travels or the government website.
Find your nearest accessible friendly day out.
Types of transport
The Blue Badge scheme helps you park nearer to your destination. You may automatically qualify depending on the benefits you receive.
Find out more and apply for a Blue Badge.
You can also contact your local borough or district council to find where disabled parking spaces are or to apply for a disabled parking bay outside your house.
Most if not all of the buses and coaches in Kent should be accessible. However, check with the bus company before travelling.
Buses and coaches allow you to travel with many others at a fixed price, where you can pay for a single ticket (one way) or a return ticket (back to your original destination).
For more information about what buses to catch visit the bus company's website directly.
Disabled person's bus pass
The disabled person's bus pass allows you to travel around England for free. The pass allows you to travel on local bus services, between 9:30am and 11pm, Monday to Friday and all day at weekends and public holidays.
Learn more about the disabled person's bus pass.
Disabled person's companion pass
If you are eligible for a disabled person's bus pass and cannot travel alone, you can apply for a friend or family member to join you when you travel for free.
Find out how to apply for a disabled plus companions bus pass.
If you are travelling further you may be eligible to apply for a National Express Disabled Coachcard.
If you need support with travelling on a bus independently to and from school or college, you may be able to get help from our travel training service.
Having a disability doesn’t mean that you cannot become a driver. There are many changes to a car that can be made to suit your needs, and to make your journey as comfortable as possible.
Become a driver
To be able to drive, you must pass both the theory and practical driving tests. The theory test is on screen must be taken before you take your practical test. Learn more about applying becoming a driver.
To find suitable driving instructors, use a search engine to find your nearest appropriate teacher.
The Motability Scheme enables anyone in receipt of a qualifying mobility allowance to use their mobility allowance to lease a car, scooter, powered wheelchair or wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV).
Once you've passed your tests
You may be able to request and order a Blue Badge to allow you to park closer to your destination.
Community transport gives you access to a bus or car service if you can't access public transport.
Going abroad may feel like a big task when you need accessibility support. However, the more you plan in advance, the more comfortable and enjoyable your trip will be.
Before you book
It's best to make sure that those travelling are fit to fly. You are usually the best judge of this, but speak with your GP or consultant if you're unsure.
However, you should let the airline know as soon as possible if you feel that you're not fit to fly after booking a flight.
Support at the airport
When you buy your tickets, you can book special assistance support, so the airline knows you need support at the airport and during the flight. This can include:
- transport to get you to and from the airport gate
- quiet rooms for anxiety or sensory needs
- accessible toilets and changing rooms
- a ramp to get onto the airplane or an ambulift
- opening up a quieter area for check-in and security checks
Don't forget, your hidden disabilities sunflower lanyard also lets staff know if you have a less visible condition or impairment.
What to take on the flight
As well as the essentials for keeping yourself or a child entertained on a flight, you will also need to think about the equipment you need to bring. You can bring an extra 2 pieces of disability equipment or support for free.
This could include:
- a wheelchair
- a guide dog
- a specialised toilet seat.
If you need further support you can visit one of the following websites:
- UK Civil Aviation Authority - passenger assistant support
- GOV.UK - find out what you're entitled to
- NHS - can I take my medicine abroad
- Tryb4uFly - videos about flying with a disability and a consultation service to help you understand the support or equipment you need before you fly
- Scope - disabled travel insurance advice.
Depending on your child's needs and age, there are a number of school transport options you can apply for either free home to school transport or our KCC Travel Saver.
Free home to school transport
There is no guarantee that a child with special educational needs will receive free home to school transport, whether they have:
- an EHC plan
- a disability
- mobility problems
All children will be assessed in accordance with our transport criteria. For advice about your child's journey to school, we advise that you speak to your SEN officer.
Find out more about free home to school transport.
KCC Travel Saver
The KCC Travel Saver is a bus pass that allows your child to travel to and from school up to the cost of 50% of standard tickets.
The bus pass is available for children in school years 7 to 11.
Find out more about the KCC Travel Saver.
Post 16 school transport
For those who are over 16, you may want to travel to school on your own. Although there is no automatic entitlement to travel assistance for post 16 students, there are a number of travel options to help you get to and from school or college.
To find your nearest taxi company, use a search engine such as Google or Bing.
When booking you must inform the taxi company if you are travelling with a wheelchair or with an assistance dog. Most licensed taxis are too small to take a powered or unfolded wheelchair.
They must make sure they do not discriminate against you and cannot treat you less favourably than other customers.
They should also make any ‘reasonable adjustments’ to their service to make your journey easier.
If you need to make a complaint please contact the licencing department at your local borough or district council.
16 to 17 travel pass
A 16 to 17 Saver gets you 50% off most rail fares every day of the year with no time restrictions and no minimum fare, until your 18th birthday.
To apply you need a:
- valid UK driving licence, passport or national ID card
- digital passport-style photo ready to upload
- debit or credit card for payment.
You can either buy the pass online or call 0345 301 1656. For more information visit the 16 to 17 travel pass website.
Disabled person's train ticket
A disabled person's train ticket provides 1/3 off your train ticket, including discounts on restaurants and hotels for either 1 or 3 years.
To be eligible you must receive or have:
- Personal Independence Payments (PIP)
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at either:
- the higher or lower rate for the mobility component, or
- the higher or middle rate for the care component
- a visual or hearing impairment
- Attendance Allowance or Severe Disablement Allowance
- buy or lease a vehicle through the Motability scheme.
You can buy a disabled person's train ticket online.
Before you travel
You should check the accessibility of train stations and if your wheelchair or scooter can fit on the train before you travel.
South Eastern Railway also provide additional support through:
- passenger assistants
- travel support cards
- communication assistance guides
- priority seating cards.
You may wish to travel using the underground trains in London. It is important to plan before you travel on the underground, as many stations are not accessible.
The Transport for London (TfL) step-free tube guide tells you which tube stations:
- are step-free
- have manual boarding ramps
- have large gaps between the station and the platform.
Download a Transport for London step-free tube guide.
You do not have to book assistance on the Transport for London network. They operate a ‘turn-up-and-go’ service. This means you can ask staff for help you via the help point.