Some smaller mobility scooter models can now be taken on low-floor buses. Here we explain how to get permission and which scooters are suitable.
You can take your scooter on the bus if all of the following apply:
- your local bus company is running a scooter permit scheme
- your scooter is a Class 2 type and meets certain size limits
- the bus company has assessed you in safely using your scooter on the bus
Permit schemes have been developed across the UK by the Confederation for Passenger Transport (CPT), and in London by Transport for London (TfL).
If your bus company has signed up to the CPT scheme, they'll be issuing credit-card sized permits, which can be shown to the driver to confirm that you're allowed to travel with your scooter.
Is your local bus company taking part?
To get a permit to take your scooter on the bus, the first step is to contact your local bus operator. So far, the following bus companies have started running permit schemes:
- Blackpool Transport Services
- Country Bus
- Ipswich Buses
- National Express
- Nottingham City Transport
- Prentice Coaches
- Quality Line
- Reading Transport
- Southern Vectis
- Thamesdown Transport
- Transdev Blazefield
- Transport for London (see below)
- Wilts and Dorset
- Yellow Buses
Once you've been given a permit, you should be able to use it with any other bus operator that is running the scheme.
If your local bus operator is not on the list, try asking them about the CPT scheme - they may be willing to accept a permit that's been issued to you by another bus operator. If you know of another operator that has joined the scheme, please let us know.
To be eligible for a scooter permit, your mobility scooter must:
- be a Class 2 rather than a Class 3 vehicle (Class 2 scooters are lightweight and designed for pavement use, while Class 3 scooters are bulkier and designed to go on the road)
- be no more than 600mm wide and 1000mm long
- have a turning radius of no more than 1200mm
- when you're on it, not exceed the safe working load of the ramp used to board the bus (normally 300kg)
If you're shopping for a new scooter, you can use our list as a guide to help pick one that you can take on the bus. You can also use it to check whether a scooter you already own is suitable. If your scooter isn't on the list but you think it's the right size, check the dimensions in the user manual.
Keep in mind that adding accessories to your scooter, such as baskets or mirrors, might push it over the size limit.
Go for training and assessment
If you apply for a permit and your scooter is the right size, your local bus company should offer you training. If you haven't demonstrated that you can use your scooter safely, then you won't be able to get a permit - but the training is designed to help you find out what you need to know and practice at your own pace.
During the training, you should be shown how to manoeuvre on to and off of the bus safely, and how to reverse your scooter up to the backrest in the wheelchair space. The bus operator will also advise you on which local routes you can travel on with your scooter.
TfL don't have compulsory training as part of their scheme, but it is recommended and is offered through their Travel Mentoring Service.
More about the CPT code
- The CPT is a trade association for the bus, coach and light-rail industries.
- The scheme was developed with input from the Department for Transport and bus operators.
- You can read more about the CPT scheme on their website: CPT Mobility Scooter Code.
- The permit comes with a number of conditions of use, including keeping your scooter in good working order and free of bulky additions, as this might result in it being turned away.
- The permit is issued for a fixed period of time only - in case your abilities change - and can be taken away if you misuse it.
Transport for London (TfL) has independently developed the Mobility Aid Recognition Scheme, which has its own card. It also covers other mobility aids such as powered wheelchairs and mobility walkers. TfL asks that mobility scooters meet the same specifications as the CPT scheme, and offers training as part of the permit application.
London bus drivers will accept TfL Mobility Aid permits and should accept permits from other bus companies in the CPT scheme. But if you travel in London regularly with your scooter, you're advised to get a TfL Mobility Aid permit.
You can read more about the Mobility Aid Recognition Scheme on TfL's page: Wheelchair access & avoiding stairs. You can also contact its Travel Mentoring Service, which runs the scheme:
TfL issues a permit that also comes with conditions of use. For example, the card can only be used for one device and does not guarantee travel on London buses - you may still be turned away if the wheelchair space is full.
For other modes of travel in the capital, see Transport in London.
Last updated: January 2017