Local transport services

You may be able to get free or reduced-cost travel in your area. In England, Scotland and Wales, local councils offer free off-peak local bus travel. Your local council will be able to tell you about the services in your area. Bus and rail concessions are also available in Northern Ireland. Across the UK, there may also be local voluntary groups that provide transport to hospitals or GP surgeries.

Charities and organisations across the UK also provide transport services. The British Red Cross can provide companions or a private car with a driver. St John Wales can provide transport for people who can’t use public transport. Shopmobility schemes provide wheelchairs and scooters in shopping centres across the UK.

In some areas, there are specific schemes that help people with mobility problems go to hospital. The Highlands and Islands Travel Scheme, the Isles of Scilly Travel Cost Scheme and the London Taxicard Scheme all provide free or discounted travel in the local area. You may also be able to have reduced-fare taxi fares. Ask at your local council for more information.

Transport services

In England, Scotland and Wales, local councils must offer people with a disability free off-peak bus travel on local bus services. Contact your local council for details of free bus passes and transport services for people with a disability in your area. In Northern Ireland, visit NiDirect.gov.uk to find out more about concessions and transport for people with a disability.

There may be community transport services available in your area for people who have problems using public transport. For example, there might be services providing trips to local shopping centres.

Some areas have local voluntary groups called good neighbour schemes. They provide practical help to people who need it. This often includes help with transport to hospital or to see your GP.

The British Red Cross can provide personal transport services across the UK. This includes providing a companion for a journey on public transport, or a private car with a driver. A contribution towards the cost is usually asked for, but no one will be refused a service if they can’t pay.

In Wales, St John Wales can provide transport for people who have difficulty using public transport or their own vehicle. Visit stjohnwales.co.uk or call 0292 044 9600.

Other local services include dial-a-ride (wheelchair accessible transport, which can be booked to take you from door to door) and reduced-fare taxi schemes.

Shopmobility schemes provide wheelchairs and scooters for disabled people to help them get around town and shopping centres. Visit nsfuk.org or call 0844 414 1850.


The Highlands and Islands Travel Scheme

Under this scheme, people from the Highlands and Islands in Scotland can claim a refund of their travel costs to hospital.

You must pay the first £10 of any fare you’re claiming, unless you’re getting certain means-tested benefits.

To qualify, you must live or work in the former Highlands and Islands Development Board area. You must travel at least 30 miles from your home, or travel by water for more than five miles. If you need someone to travel with you, their expenses can also be paid for. Medical staff would have to confirm that this is medically necessary for you.

Ask your GP or the cash office at the hospital for a claim form.


Isles of Scilly Travel Cost Scheme

The NHS funds transport for all Isles of Scilly residents to get to and from the mainland for hospital treatment. You have to pay a £5 booking fee.

Ask your GP or the hospital you’re visiting for a claim form.


Taxi fare schemes

Reduced taxi fare schemes are available in some locations. Contact your local council for more information.

London Taxicard Scheme

This scheme provides discounts on door-to-door transport for people who have problems using public transport due to serious mobility problems. Taxicard holders can make journeys in licensed London taxis and the discount applies directly to each trip.

For more information and an application form, visit londoncouncils.gov.uk/services/taxicard or call 0207 934 9791.


In Northern Ireland

Back to Help with transport and parking

The Blue Badge Scheme

The Blue Badge Scheme can help with parking costs if you have severe mobility problems.

The Motability Scheme

You may qualify for schemes that help you buy or rent a car, scooter or powered wheelchair.