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Transport and travel support for people with SEN and disabilities

This page provides general information about transport and travelling in Hackney and London if you have a disability. 

Transport for London (TfL) arrange and develop support on public transport. The support you can get makes it easier for you to travel around London, visit places, meet friends or go to work. TfL provide information about lots of different support on offer to people with support needs and disabilities. 

Some schemes are national but you need to contact the council department in your local area to access them. The information below links to national and local information. 

Most young people will need to apply for a Oyster Photocard as this is most cost effective way to use public transport. 

Page last moderated 09/08/21

Planning your journey

You can use TfL's journey planner which can show you how to decide on a journey that is accessible for you. Use the planner to find:

  • stations that do not have steps
  • stations that do not have stairs or escalators

The journey planner can also help you see if the bus or train is the best option for you. There are 2 ways you can access the journey planner:

TfL are always developing and maintaining the transport systems. When planned or emergency work is needed stations are closed.

You can check to see if stations you need to use are closed before you travel here.

Help understanding the transport systems

TfL uses maps and timetable to show when and where trains and buses are available.

You can ask staff is you need help to understand the maps of timetables. TfL staff wear a uniforms. Staff are there to help you if you need it and have training about how to support passengers who need extra help. 

Help from staff at stations 

There are staff at most stations when services are running.
If you need help for you journey when you are at a train station you can ask any member of TfL staff who will:

  • help you get to the platform
  • help you board the train
  • arrange for you to be met at stations
  • help you to use a ramp if one is available
  • tell you if your train is late and suggest another way to travel if you need to change arrangements

To find out more about help from TfL staff
Call 034 32 22 12 34

Maps, Leaflets and Guides

TfL Maps

Maps to help you plan a journey are available in large print and in black and white.
Map will show where the train, tube, rail, DLR, London Overground, Tram and cable care (Emeraites Air Line) services are.

You can get special maps that show where the disabled access toilets are, a Tunnels Map, maps in large print or black and white, maps in different languages. 

Step-free information guide

Guides can explain how to plan journey's that don't have gaps or steps from the train to the platform and from the platform to the street. They can explain where the best stations to change are for your journey.

Avoiding stairs information guide

This guide gives you more information about planning a journey where there are lifts and escalators. Also how you can access ramps and support from station staff to use them.

TfL FREE Travel mentoring

TfL have a free travel mentoring service that helps people to start using public transport.

The travel mentor can offer advice on planning a journey using an accessible route.

TfL can provide a mentor to go out with you to practice a journey a few times to help you gain confidence and provide the knowledge to become an independent traveller across the TfL network

Mentoring is free of charge and can be provided Monday to Friday from 9am - 5pm
Phone: 020 3054 4361 (TfL call charges)

TfL Travel Support Card

The Travel Support Card can help you to travel on TfL transport.

You show the card to staff when you need help.
Anyone who finds travelling difficult can have a travel support card.

You might have a hidden disability or you might not often travel on your own.

You can write on the card about the help and support you need.
Then you can show the card to TfL staff when you travel around London including Victoria Coach Station.

Staff will be able to help you more easily

Find out more about Travel Support Cards or download a card online here

Call 0343 222 1234

Travelling by bus...

To help you when you are travelling by bus you can plan your bus journey using your computer or phone.

Help from bus drivers

The bus driver will:

  • stop close to the kerb so that it is easy to get on the bus
  • lower the bus
  • use the wheelchair ramp if you need it
  • ask anybody in the wheelchair space, who does not need to be there, to move
  • so that you can use the space.

Disabled persons freedom pass

A Disabled Person's Freedom Pass is a travel pass that allows the person it belongs to to travel for free on Londons trains and busses and on some network rail journeys. 

Some boroughs offer discretionary passes to people who do not meet the eligability criteria. 

Find out more about this scheme here on London Council's website

Or call London Council's on 030 03 30 14 33

Find the eligability criteria and apply online for a pass in Hackney here

You can also download the form and return it by post to:

Freedom Pass Team

Hackney Service Centre,

1 Hillman Street,


E8 1DY

Phone: 020 8356 6262

Railcards and Disabled Persons Railcard

Railcards help save you money when you buy or book tickets for Network Rail travel. 

There are plenty of rialcard options for young people and buying a card can pay for itself in savings over just three trips. 

Disabled Persons Railcard

A Disabled Persons Railcard helps you get 30% off rail travel in England. 

You can have a card or a digital verson on your phone. 

You can use it to save on most rail tickets and when booking in advance. 

You can find more information an apply online here

Call 034 56 05 05 25

Ask at National Rail stations for more information.

Priority seats and "Please offer me a seat" badges and passes

A priority seat is a seat for people who have a disability or are pregnant.

All buses, trains and tubes have priority seats.

To get a "Please offer me a seat" badge or pass to show other passengers you need a seat you can:

People who use walking aids or wheelchair users

Mobility Aid Card scheme

Mobility aids that you can use on busses include: 

  • a mobility scooter
  • a walking aid
  • a wheelchair buggy

If you need to use one of these on the bus we will check to see if your mobility aid is suitable. If it is we will send you a card.

When you show the card to bus drivers they will know your mobility aid will fit on the bus and let the ramp down for you.  

When you apply for a Mobility Aid Card, a travel mentor can join you on a journey.

To apply for a Mobility Aid Card
Call us on 020 30 54 43 61

Wheelchair spaces

There are wheelchair spaces on all TfL transport.
Every bus has one wheelchair space.
Most trains have two or more wheelchair spaces.
Look for the wheelchair symbol on the train or bus.

Information for people with sensory impairments

Most stations have loops for hearing aids.

Most stations have special paving that you can feel with you feet if you have a visual impairment.

Access Guides in different formats can be downloaded from TfLs website

Guide dogs

Guide dogs travel free on all TfL transport, including black cabs and mini-cabs.
Some guide dogs can use escalators.

If you have a guide dog who is NOT trained to use the escalator, please get help from TfL staff.

London Taxicard - subsidised travel

London Taxicard provides subsidised door-to-door travel in taxis and private-hire vehicles for people who have serious mobility or visual impairment.

To qualify you must have a long term (lasting a year or more) permanent illness or disability, which significantly limits or prevents you using public transport.

Find out more and how to apply on the London Council's Taxicard webpage.

Community and Welfare Transport Services

Welfare transport provides purpose-built transport to help people with disabilities and special needs travel to and from day centres and for older people to access day centres and lunch clubs.

There's a small fee for this service.

To access this service you need to have an assessment. If the assessment shows tat you need this support a referral will be made. 

Hackney's Information and Access team are the contact for the assessments and referral. 

For more information contact Welfare Transport Service Monday to Friday 7am to 6pm. 40 Andrews Road, E8 4RL.


Phone 020 8356 4550 or 020 8356 8761/8759 (out of hours team)

Community Transport

Community Transport can provide door-to-door transport to people in local communities who can't use mainstream public transport allowing them to access work, training and social activities.

Community Transport can provide a wide range of services which include:

  • Transport for groups. This service provides an affordable, accessible minibus service to community groups and voluntary organisations, assisting them in achieving their objectives
  • Transport for individuals. This service offers door-to-door journeys for individuals unable to use public transport or those living in isolation. This can include local demand responsive services, healthcare transport and day-trips

Community Transport providers use a range of vehicles and community car share schemes, using both professional and volunteer drivers. Operators are local community-based organisations and the type of transport offered varies from borough to borough.

Hackney Community Transport (HCT) is the provider of this service in Hackney.  


Dial-a-ride is TfL’s free door-to-door transport service if it is difficult for you to use the:
bus, train, or tube.

Dial-a-ride is a good choice if you want to:

  • go to local shops
  • go to an event
  • visit your family or friends.

Other Dial-a-ride passengers will join you on your journey.

You can be a Dial-a-ride member if you:

  • have a disability that has lasted a long time.
  • are over 85 years old or older

To become a Dial-a-Ride member you need to get an application form.

Call 0343 222 1234

Learning to drive with a disability.

AA Disabled Driving Lessons

Physical disabilities, problems with hearing, or special educational needs needn’t be a barrier to learning to drive. As technology advances, cars can be better adapted to suit the needs of kinds of drivers.

The AA provide tailored lessons, specilaist instructors and adapted cars to learn to drive in

BSM (British School of Motoring) Driving lessons for all

Being able to drive is a key part of many people’s freedom and independence.Lots of people with physical disabilities, special educational requirements or hearing difficulties have a driving licence.

BSM can offer:

  • specialist disability-trained driving instructors to help customise lessons to your exact requirements. ou’ll be able to
  • drive a car adapted to suit you.
  • ensure that you get the same instructor for all of your lessons, so you can feel more at home.

They also offer a range of smartphone apps, CD ROMs and theory books to give you the best chance of passing your test.

Find out more about BSM's driving lessons for all here

Personal vehicles and transport

Vehicle tax exemption
You can apply for exemption from paying vehicle tax if you get the:

  • higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • enhanced rate mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • higher rate mobility component of Child Disability Payment

You can find out more and apply online here

The Motability Scheme helps you get mobile by exchanging your qualifying mobility allowance to lease a new affordable car, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, scooter or powered wheelchair.

We negotiate with manufacturers to make sure we’re always offering you the best prices possible.

All-inclusive lease with insurance, servicing, maintenance and breakdown cover included.

Payments are automatically taken from your mobility allowance.

Find out more about the Motability scheme here


Blue Badge scheme

Blue Badge parking for people with disabilities. 

With a Blue badge you can

  • Park a vehicle near to the place you want to go.
  • You can have a Blue Badge if you are the driver, or the passenger.

Who can get a badge?

You may be able to get a badge if:

  • You have a disability which means you are not able to walk
  • You have a disability and have a great difficulty walking from your car to where you want to go
  • You have a disability which means that you are likely to come to harm when you are walking
  • You have a disability and you are likely to harm someone when you are walking

Find out more about the Blue Badge scheme on the website

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