Travel information for blind and partially sighted people
This information is useful for blind and partially sighted people to consider, whatever type of transport you're using.
Layout of facilities and orientation
The website Describe Online provides text descriptions of the layout of public spaces.
Directory Enquiries can connect you to local transport operators for information and is a free service if you are registered blind or partially sighted.
The RNIB has useful online travel advice, including specific advice on travelling by rail, London Underground, bus, taxis and minicabs.
You can also download a guide called Confident Living: Travel, or order it in print.
There is also a travel section in the RNIB's guide to getting great customer service, which outlines what transport operators should provide.
React is an audible announcement system that provides information about public places. It works via a hand-held fob or as a smartphone bluetooth app. When switched on, React triggers audio announcements from speakers nearby. In some locations, React can be used to get on-the-spot information such as when public transport (buses, trains and trams) is due.
React has been installed in many locations across the UK, including Brighton, Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Sheffield and London.
React fobs may be available from your local council or charities in your area. For more information, ring React Technology on 01457 861431 or see their website, http://www.react-tech.com.
Travel providers usually allow your working dog to travel with you as long as it's registered with Assistance Dogs UK, which includes groups like:
- Guide Dogs
- Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
- Dogs for the Disabled
- Support Dogs
- Canine Partners for Independence
Bus, coach and train companies carry registered assistance dogs. National Express also carries 'buddy dogs', a scheme for children and young people from Guide Dogs. Black cabs and private-hire vehicles must carry assistance dogs at no extra cost to the passenger under the Equality Act 2010. Drivers who have a medical condition that means they can't be near dogs will have a 'Notice of Exemption' on their vehicle windscreen.
Going abroad with your dog
The Pet Travel Scheme lets you take your assistance dog abroad without the need for quarantine. The dog must be vaccinated against rabies, fitted with a microchip and given the right documentation. What needs doing, when, varies depending on where you're travelling to and from. For more information, contact:
- Pet Travel Scheme
Tel: 0370 241 1710 (Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm)
If you're travelling by plane, check the airline's policy on assistance dogs in advance. You'll always need to prove that your dog is registered with Assistance Dogs UK and let the airline know in advance.
Assistance dogs can normally travel free of charge in the passenger cabin with you, but on some airlines they have to travel in the hold of the plane. Always carry identification for your dog, plus a safety harness suitable for securing your dog at take-off, landing and whenever else it is needed.
Last updated: August 2018