Help with travelling by public transport if you have special educational needs or disabilities (SEND)

To get out into the local community, you may need to travel by public transport. This could be by train, bus or coach. Further information on types of transport if you have a disability is available on GOV.UK.

It is worth spending time to plan a route first. Look for the timetables from the relevant transport service you are using. Have a clear plan of what times the transport runs and locations, in case your plan changes. Ask for help if you are not sure.

Here are some things that can help:

Extra help to travel cards

First West of England has produced extra help to travel cards. The cards are designed to ease the process of boarding and travelling on First Group buses by providing you with an instant and visual way of communicating to the driver if you have a hidden disability or learning difficulty.

The cards have been designed specifically for autism, visual, speech and hearing impairments, as well as learning difficulties. They can be printed, cut up and kept in a wallet/purse or your pocket. You can then use the cards on your journey to show the driver if you need help. If you are someone with a hidden disability or know someone who might be helped by the Extra Help to Travel Cards, you can:

Bus Pass

Diamond Cards is a bus pass that entitles you to free off-peak travel throughout England. You will have to meet certain conditions to be entitled to the card. How and where you use the card and how to apply is available on our main public website.

Companion passes are also available if you require a companion to accompany you on a bus due to the severity of your disability. 

Disabled persons train railcard 

A railcard gives you a third off rail fares for you and a friend if you meet the eligibility criteria. Further details are available on the disabled person's railcard website.

Travel training

South Gloucestershire Council's travel training service is for young people with special educational needs and a disability, aged between 14-25. We can help you to build skills and confidence to travel independently. We can help you learn how to use public transport. Referrals are made by emailing our travel team. You can find their details in our online directory.  

Ask a family member or friend to help

You may have a friend or family member that can guide and support you when travelling. Watch our video of Beth help her friend David learning how to catch the bus:

Community transport

If you are not able to use public transport due to lack of availability, community transport offers a variety of services to help you. The following are used in South Gloucestershire and further details are available on their websites:

They require a small registration fee and costs are approximately 45p per mile or 35p with a Diamond Card.