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Accessible Transportation in London

  Overview

Accessible transportation in London is provided by the fully accessible “black cabs” and the fully accessible and much cheaper busses. The vast majority of the subway/metro stations are do not have elevators, and driving your own car would be a huge headache because of the traffic, expensive parking, and possibly driving on the other side of street from your home country.

Disabled Access on London Busses

All busses are low-floor busses with ramps (except for the handful of Heritage busses on routes 9 and 15). Busses with ramps that do not work are taken out of service. Busses are free for wheelchair users and anyone under age 18.

Try to make sure the driver sees your wheelchair when he is driving up so he can position the bus correctly. Able-bodied travelers will enter through the front doors and exit at the center doors. Wheelchair users will enter and exit at the center doors where the ramp is located. The driver will allow people off the bus through the center doors, then close the doors and extend the ramp, then let you on. The wheelchair space on the busses will fit wheelchairs less than 70 cm in width and 120 cm in length. Strollers (known as buggies in the UK) can occupy this space if a wheelchair user does not need it.

When you want to get off the bus, press the wheelchair signal button located at the wheelchair spot to notify the bus driver.  Overall busses provide an excellent option for wheelchair travel in London.

Good bus map (.pdf) from Transport for London (TFL) on page 7
Central London bus map (.pdf) from Transport for London (TFL)  (need to use alongside map at link above)
Bus accessibility information from Transport for London (TFL)

99% of busses have ramps that extend Every bus has a designated spot for a wheelchair

Some busses are double length like this one. Each bus stop will have a picture like this showing which bus lines stop there

Accessible Taxis in London

London Black Taxis are the most accessible taxis I’ve found anywhere in the world. All taxis have a ramp going into them so you can stay in your wheelchair. You can easily hail one, or you can call them at 07779 336 612

Location of taxi ranks
Taxi rank info
Taxi fare info

London's "black cabs" are the most accessible taxi fleet anywhere in the world. Not all black cabs are black! If you use a wheelchair, you may have to lean over a little bit inside the cab.

Subway/Metro Accessibility (also known as The Tube or The Underground)

The Metro has some stations with elevators, but there are not many in the major tourist parts of town. Most stations have stairs and/or escalators to reach them. This is not a very good option for wheelchair travel in London. I find the bus system to be a much better form of London accessible transportation.

Tube map with detailed accessibility information (.pdf)
Accessibility information about Tube travel
Accessibility information guide on Tube stations (.pdf)
Map of Tube toilets including accessible ones (.pdf)
Information on exact location of toilets (.pdf)
Less detailed Tube map with accessible stations (.pdf)

London Train Accessibility (known as Docklands Light Railway or DLR)

The DLR is useful for travel to the outskirts of town. There is a 7.5 cm gap from platform to train and less than 5 cm step up or down into train.

Light rail accessibility information

Accessible Car Rental

Driving and parking in the center of London is a huge headache. You will be better off using taxis and busses. If you are visiting a nearby city (Bath, Cambridge, etc…), this may be a good option.

Adapted vehicles in the UK for hire
Information about obtaining disabled parking placards
Website that shows location of handicapped parking spots (blue badge) in the UK

Tram Accessiblity

The tram system has a couple of lines and is fairly limited. The busses are generally a better option. It is free for wheelchair users. 1 pound for adults using the Oyster Card. 2 pounds for adults paying with cash.

Tram map
Tram information guide (.pdf)

Additional Accessible Transportation Resources

The Oyster Card is the cheapest and most easy way to use the busses and subway. You pay beforehand and it deducts from your total every time you board a bus or train.

Oyster Card information
Website for buying the Oyster Card from the US
Fare information (.pdf)

Additional maps can be found here:
Interactive transport map
Visitor’s map of Tube and bus routes (.pdf)
Jouney Planner – useful for planning complex trips including walking/rolling, busses, trains and/or trams, can estimate travel time, can check step-free routes
Accessibility guide from Travel for London (.pdf, 146 pages)
The important pages are listed below:
–  page 22 detailed accessibility info for all Tube stations
–  page 113 accessibility info on trams
–  page 119 accessibility info on boats on the Thames River
–  page 131 accessibility info on the light rail (known as DLR)
–  page 134 detailed accessibility info on DLR stations

Accessibility guide from Travel for London (.pdf, 46 pages)
London Accessible Transport Information from TourismForAll.org.uk  

If you are not on a major street, you may encounter narrow sidewalks like this one.Curb cuts are common at street intersections throughout London.

London is a very flat city. Few places have hills steeper than this.

Read more:

London Accessible Travel – main page 
   Pros and Cons of London Disabled Access 
   13 Wheelchair Accessible Travel Tips for London England 
   9 Keys to Success for London Handicapped Travel 
   Tower of London Wheelchair Access 
   London Eye Wheelchair Accessibility 
   Stonehenge Disabled Access 
   Travel Insurance for Disabled Travelers 
   London Accessible Travel Packages 
Accessible Walking and Driving Tours in London 
   Highlights of London Accessible Driving Tour 
   Classic London Wheelchair Accessible Tour 
   Royal London Accessible Guided Tour 
   London Accessible Boat Cruise on the Thames River 
   Stonehenge & Hampton Court Accessible Driving Tour 
   Stonehenge & Windsor Castle Accessible Guided Tour 
   Stonehenge Accessible Tour by Train 
   Cambridge Accessible Tour from London 
   Oxford Accessible Tour from London 
   Highlights of Greenwich Accessible Tour 
London Accessibility Guide by John Sage 
London Trip Planning by Sage Traveling – Travel with Ease!

 

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