Your rights - motoring and transport

Disability discrimination law gives people with disabilities rights of access for motoring, transport and travel infrastructure, such as railway stations, airports and travel agents.

Public transport

Transport vehicles are covered by separate terms under disability discrimination law and accessibility regulations have been introduced to improve the accessibility of buses and coaches and trains.

A similar package for taxis is being developed.

This also means that you have a right to information about transport - timetables for example - in a format that is accessible to you where it is reasonable for the transport provider to provide it in that format.

Legal protection against transport discrimination

Regulations make it unlawful for transport providers (who operate trains, buses, coaches, taxis, rental vehicles and breakdown recovery vehicles) to treat people with disabilities less favourably than those without a disability. They require transport providers to make reasonable adjustments to their policies, procedures and practices to make sure people with disabilities do not find it impossible or unreasonably difficult to access their services.

The extent to which the duties apply depends on the type of vehicle used.

The Equality Commission of Northern Ireland has developed a Code of Practice and short guides for transport providers about rights and responsibilities under the regulations. These are available from the link below.

Buses and coaches

Since December 2000, new buses and coaches that are used on local and scheduled services and can transport more than 22 passengers have had to meet Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations.

In Northern Ireland there are various Translink Smartpasses available for people with disabilities.

Trains

Since December 1998, all new rail vehicles have had to meet Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations.

Motoring

Learning to drive

The usual minimum age for driving cars is 17. For anyone who is getting Disability Living Allowance at the higher rate (mobility component), the minimum age for driving is 16.

Insurance

Insurers can only charge people with disabilities higher premiums if the extra charge is based on factual or statistical data, or there are other relevant factors which suggest that a person with disabilities is a higher risk.

Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee

The Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) was established as an independent body to advise Government on the transport needs of all people with disabilities across the UK.  DPTAC also advises on the barriers faced by people with disabilities created by the design management and operation of buildings, streets and open space and how these might be overcome.

Help and advice from the Equality Commission

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland is a good source of advice if you feel you may have been discriminated against by a service provider.

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