When I visited London as a spry college student, luckily mobility wasn’t an issue. As we age, however, travel can inevitably become harder, and knowing where to find the most convenient facilities is important for those travelers who have a tougher time getting around. In this guest post, we explore the best options for coaches in London for travelers with limited mobility.
If you have limited mobility you’ll know from experience that even just planning and enduring the journey to and from your holiday destination can leave you needing a holiday! Coach travel is often the best option because of the high staff to passenger ratio and the relative ease of accessibility on modern coaches. Major coach stations like London Victoria are set up for disabled access and have porters available to assist, but this is not the case at all stations by any means.
You may have found in the past that you are restricted to what times you can travel because some of the buses and coaches owned by certain companies are the old style that is simply unsuitable for people who need to use a wheelchair or who cannot climb up the high steps to get on board. You may have also found that even those buses that are believed to be accessible because they carry ramps are not in fact accessible at all – because the ramps are broken.
In order to enjoy a relaxed start (and end) to your holiday and to demonstrate your unwillingness to pay money to bus companies that do not cater for your needs, you need to choose stations and bus companies that are one hundred per cent accessible and that are willing to cater for the needs of all their customers, not just those who are able bodied.
Our top choices of station and bus company are the London Victoria Coach Station and iDBUS.
London Victoria has a mobility lounge that is free to use if you have limited mobility: you will also be offered free assistance to get you to and from your coaches. The waiting room is comfortable and safe and there is room for you and your baggage, plus there is a toilet fitted out for disabled access. You can book this service in advance by telephone or email 24 hours before your journey. You can also make use of the porter service if you just need a hand with your luggage (those porters work on commission only and would normally expect a small fee).
iDBUS offers coach trips from London Victoria to Paris and further afield. There are several journeys each day and their pricing structure and timetables are very clear. If you contact them 48 hours before your journey you can arrange for staff to give you any additional support you need for your journey such as help with embarking or with your luggage. You will be given priority boarding and seating, and there are seats available with room for your wheelchair if required. If you have a guide dog, again special arrangements can be made for your dog to travel with you.
All iDBUS coaches are accessible and designed for the comfort of all their passengers with reclining seats that offer plenty of legroom and elbow room too. You can book specific seats so that you can sit with your friends or family who may be travelling with you.
Finally, iDBUS stewards are on hand when you arrive to help you with your luggage and help you safely on board.
[Photo Credit: eastleighbusman on Flickr]