Cars, mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs
If you’re a driver and want to check whether you’re still safe to drive, you can get an assessment from Driving Mobility. They can also advise you on adaptations you can make to your car so you can continue driving or give advice if you want to buy a more suitable vehicle. There is a charge for their services.
Blue Badge scheme
If you have problems with walking or other health conditions that affect your mobility, you may be able to get a Blue Badge to help you park closer to the places you want to go.
If you’re getting the higher rate component of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or the enhanced mobility component of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), you can use it to lease a specially adapted car, scooter or powered wheelchair through the Motability scheme. The mobility package includes servicing, maintenance, repairs and break down assistance. Your allowance may not cover the full cost of the lease.
Mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs
If you aren’t eligible for the Motability scheme you could consider renting or buying a mobility scooter or electric wheelchair privately. Before you buy or hire, it’s a good idea to get an assessment from a physiotherapist or an occupational therapist. Contact your GP for advice.
There are many different types of scooter and powered wheelchair so you will need to do some research. A good starting place is RIDC, an independent consumer research organisation for older and disabled people. You could also contact the Disabled Living Foundation.
Wheelchairs and walking aids
You may feel more confident about getting out and about using walking aids or a manual wheelchair. NHS Wheelchair Services can assess you to find the best option for you. Ask your GP to refer you for an assessment.
The NHS may be able to lend you a wheelchair and you may also be able to hire or borrow one from the British Red Cross if you only need to use it for a short time.
Help with shopping
Shopmobility lends scooters, wheelchairs and other aids to people who are less mobile so they can shop and visit leisure facilities in their local area. Staff at the scheme will assess you to find the right option for you and give you training and safety information. There may be a small charge for the service.
The scheme varies depending on where you live. Contact the shopmobility service to find out what’s available in your area.
Free bus travel
The age when you can get an older person’s bus pass depends on where you live:
- in England you can apply when you reach the female state pension age
- in London, you can get a Freedom Pass when you are 60
There may be certain restrictions on when you can use it. You may be entitled to free bus travel if you have a disability.
Contact your local council to find out if/when you qualify and how to apply for a pass.
Special transport schemes
Your local council may operate schemes in your area, such as:
- dial-a-ride, for people who can’t use public transport
- a taxicard or taxi voucher scheme, offering reduced taxi fares for older less mobile people
- a local volunteer drivers scheme, which can arrange lifts in cars driven by volunteers for a small charge
Contact your local council to find out what’s available in your area.
You could also check with the Community Transport Association to see if there are any community schemes operating in your area.
Free transport to day centres
Most councils and some charities have day centres where you can meet people, get a meal or join an outing. You may need to have a care needs assessment from your local council before you can start attending a day centre. Many will provide free transport if you qualify.
If you need a break, you can ask social services if they can help. They might provide information about suitable accommodation or arranging transport. They can also give you information about charities that can help to fund holidays for people with disabilities. Or see our factsheet: Grants from charities for people on a low income.
If you are over 60 you may be able to get discounted fares on coach and rail travel. You will need to buy a coach or rail card to get the reductions. You can also get reduced fares for you and a friend or family member with a Disabled Person’s Railcard. Contact National Rail for details.
Your GP might recommend using hospital transport if that is the best option for your health. For subsequent visits you will have to arrange this yourself at the patient transport desk in the hospital.
If you organise your own transport, you may be able to claim back the costs of travel to hospital if you are on Guarantee Pension Credit or qualify for the NHS Low Income Scheme.
To find contact details of your local council go to gov.uk/find-your-local-council