Accessible Tourism UK Breaking News

Are Coaches Catering More For People With Limited Mobility?


Coach trips can be a whole bundle of fun, taking you to unique locations that you really don’t feel comfortable driving to yourself. But, for people with limited mobility, a coach or bus trip may be the only mode of transport that they can use, which is why it’s increasingly important that these vehicles cater for people that struggle navigating themselves around. Wheelchair accessible vehicles are becoming more apparent in today’s society, including the likes of coaches, but are they really going the extra mile to ensure that transport for those with mobility issues is as seamless as possible?

Yes – Ramps Instead Of Stairs

As you may notice on some buses, stairs are needed to reach the seats that are located towards the back of the coach. For those who need to use a wheelchair to get around, this is completely impractical and will restrain the individual from reaching these seats. Coaches however, have ensured that their isle is step-free, and instead use subtle ramps to allow those within a wheelchair or with a walking stick to reach these seats. This is very refreshing to see, and we can only hope to see the trend continuing in coaches in the foreseeable future.

Yes – Wheelchair Spaces

More and more coaches are ensuring that there is at least one wheelchair space on the vehicle, allowing those within a wheelchair to sit peacefully and know that they won’t need to struggle to get themselves out of the chair and into another. This makes life so much easier for many people with reduced mobility, and eliminates the anxiety that they may have about straining themselves or embarrassing themselves in public. After all, people with reduced mobility just want to be comfortable, which is exactly what wheelchair spaces achieve on a coach.

No – Need Greater Space For Mobility Scooters

Coaches have quite an extensive storage space for luggage that belongs to the passengers, but this space needs to be optimised for those utilising a mobility scooter. Now that technology is thriving in our generation, more and more people with reduced mobility are using a scooter as a way to navigate themselves around as opposed to a standard wheelchair. However, coaches are often unable to cater for these people, as the coach may not have the space to store a mobility scooter, or the capacity to carry one. However, as these scooters are becoming even smarter, and are often able to be folded to optimise space, coaches may be able to cater for these people in the near future, and allow people with a mobility scooter to get themselves safely on the coach.

No – Toilets Are Still Difficult To Access

A lot of mobility issues arise once we hit old age, and with old age comes a weakened bladder. Because of this, the toilets on a coach need to be as accessible as possible; otherwise passengers could become extremely uncomfortable. However, most coaches these days have toilets situated at the bottom of some severely deep stairs, making them almost impossible to reach for those with limited mobility. Whilst this is a difficult issue to solve due to the compact nature of a coach, a system could be implemented where access to the toilet can also reside from the outside of the coach. This way, when a person with reduced mobility needs the toilet, the coach can stop safely nearby and let the passenger out to relieve themselves.

So, it’s clear to see how coaches are making a conscious effort to make travelling by coach easier for those with limited mobility, however many still have a long way to go before they fully optimise their accessible services.

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.