Taken from NRAS magazine, Autumn 2012
Free Bus Pass
• This should enable you to travel anywhere on the bus in the ‘off-peak’ times for free (9.30am-11pm Monday-Friday, all day on weekends and bank holidays).
• You should be eligible if you have a disability which has a substantial and long-term effect on your ability to walk.
• You would need to contact your local council for an application form, and this will usually need to be signed by a health practitioner to confirm your difficulty walking.
• Your local council may offer other travel concessions, like free travel during the morning peak, community transport services, reduced rail fares or companion passes. These usually apply only in the local area.
• You can visit: www.direct.gov.uk for more information, or your local council.
Disabled Person’s Railcard
• You, and an adult companion, can save 1/3 on most rail fares across Britain.
• You should be eligible to purchase a disabled person’s railcard if you are receiving Attendance Allowance, Severe Disablement Allowance, the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or the higher or middle rate care component of DLA.
• To buy a disabled person’s railcard it costs £20 for one year, or £54 for 3 years.
• To buy a disabled person’s railcard you will need to complete an application form and send it with a copy of proof of entitlement and payment. You can download an application form from the Disabled Person's Railcard website: www.disabledpersons-railcard.co.uk or telephone their helpline on: 0845 6050 525, and request a copy to be sent to you.
Community Transport Services
• Many areas have community transport services for people who have difficulty using public transport. This may include Shopmobility schemes where you can hire manual wheelchairs, powered wheelchairs and powered scooters. All schemes operate independently and there is sometimes a charge for this service, but some centers do operate it for free. To find out if there is a scheme near you contact the National Federation of Shopmobility on: 0845 644 2446 or visit: www.shopmobilityuk.org
• Your local council may operate taxi schemes, possibly using vouchers or tokens. If you qualify to use one of these schemes, you will be given a card or a number of tokens which can be exchanged with certain taxi firms instead of cash. The local council would then pay the taxi company on your behalf. To find out are there are taxi schemes in your area that you may be eligible for please contact your local council.
• Often local councils will also provide a ‘dial-a-ride’ scheme with wheelchair-accessible vehicles which can be booked for specific journeys for those who have difficulty using public transport.
Personal Cars and Motorbikes
Blue Badge Scheme
• The Blue Badge scheme for disabled parking allows people with mobility difficulties to park closer to where they need to go.
• In England Blue Badge owners may also park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours (unless there is a ban on loading or unloading), at 'on-street' parking meters and pay-and-display machines for free and for as long as they need to, and in disabled parking bays. Details of the scheme may differ in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
• The Blue Badge scheme is run by your local council. You can contact them for more information about the scheme and find out how to apply for a Blue Badge. You can also now apply online at: www.gov.uk
• You should automatically qualify for a blue badge if you receive the higher rate of the mobility component of DLA, and you may also qualify if you “have a permanent and substantial disability which means you cannot walk, or have difficulty walking”.
• You may need to provide evidence of this, for example a letter from your doctor, and your local authority would be in touch if they require more information after you have completed your application.
Road Tax Exemption
• You may be entitled to a free tax disc if you are claiming the higher rate of the mobility component of DLA.
• The vehicle being taxed can either be held in your name, or registered in the name of someone who uses their vehicle to help you.
• You will need a Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) exemption certificate which should automatically be sent when receiving higher rate DLA. This exemption certificate can only be used to tax one vehicle at a time.
• Applying for your first free tax disc is different from renewing it every year. For new vehicles, you will need to take the exemption certificate and a valid insurance certificate to the dealership.
• For used vehicles, you can change the tax class at a Post Office that issues tax discs. You must have your full vehicle registration certificate (V5C), insurance certificate and MOT certificate and your VED exemption certificate. To find your nearest post office that issues tax discs visit: www.postoffice.co.uk or phone 0845 722 3344.
• You should get an automatic reminder letter, as usual, when your tax disc is going to run out.
• If you have any questions about your exemption certificate you can contact the DLA and Attendance Allowance Helpline on: 08457 123 456
The Blue Badge Network is a charity which can help those with disabilities to overcome mobility and access restrictions. It has up to date legislation and information on parking concessions in particular and disability issues in general: www.bluebadgenetwork.org
You can contact them on: 198 Wolverhampton Street, Dudley, DY1 1DZ. Or on: 01384 257 001
The Motability Scheme enables disabled people to lease a car, powered wheelchair or scooter by using their government-funded mobility allowances. If you are claiming the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance you may be able to exchange this for a mobility package which could include a new car, powered wheelchair or scooter, insurance, servicing and breakdown cover. Adaptations and wheelchair accessible vehicles are also available: www.motability.co.uk
To find out more about the car, scooter and powered wheelchair scheme you can contact:
Motability Operations , City Gate House, 22 Southwark Bridge Road, London , SE1 9HB.
Or telephone: 0845 456 4566 (8.30am till 5.30pm Monday to Friday)
The Disabled Motorists Federation (DMF) give advice to disabled people (irrespective of the nature of their disability) and their carers on issues relating to motoring and transport matters, including things like blue badge policy: www.dmfed.org.uk
Or telephone the Vice President: 0151 648 3457
The National Association for Bikers with a Disability (NABD) offer advice on insurance, licensing, legal and any other matters relating to the disability of a rider, they also help people with disabilities to adapt motorbikes to enable them to continue, or start, to ride: www.nabd.org.uk
If you would like to know more about the NABD you can write to:
Unit 20, The Bridgewater Centre, Robson Avenue, Urmston, Manchester, M41 7TE.
Or telephone: 0844 415 4849