If the person you care for has a disability or illness which affects their mobility, it can be very difficult for you to travel together, because most transport services have been designed with able-bodied people in mind.
However, there are some services which can help.
Sheffield Community Transport (SCT)
SCT runs a number of services for people who have difficulty in getting around by conventional forms of transport.
A door to door service within Sheffield using minibuses which are accessible for people with disabilities. Bookings can be made up to one week in advance.
0114 276 5766 (Ansaphone)
Community Car Scheme
Uses volunteers driving their own car. This service normally operates within the city, but longer journeys can be made. It may be possible to arrange regular trips. If a volunteer uses his or her own car, a mileage rate is charged (including mileage to and from the driver’s home). Please contact SCT for the current rate of charges for this service
0114 276 6148
Group Travel Scheme
Wheelchair accessible minibuses are available for groups such as carers support groups. The vehicle can be driven either by a member of the group (who would need to undertake a driving assessment) or by a volunteer provided by SCT. Please contact SCT for the current rate of charges for this service.
0114 276 6148
Miles of Mobility Club
Organises trips and excursions for elderly and disabled people. Membership costs just £1 and members get a membership card and details of trips, outings and special events. Costs are kept as low as possible and one carer is welcome to join each member, paying the same fare as the member. Please contact SCT for the current rate of charges for this service.
0114 276 6148 (Bookings are taken 2.30 – 4.30pm only)
Mobility for Leisure
Provides transport with accessible vehicles to take disabled people to holiday destinations of their own choice. This service is available throughout the year. Costs are kept to a minimum – for example to take four people to Skegness would cost around £100.
0114 276 6148
Operated by First Mainline (the largest bus company in Sheffield). The service picks up passengers from their own homes and takes them to the major shopping areas around the city. It operates on regular days according to the area in which you live. The cost is 40p per single journey and passengers need to be registered with City Ride to use the service.
0114 275 0777 (9am – 12.30pm)
There is more information about all Sheffield Community Transport Services on their website.
Other Community Transport
There are a number of other community organisations providing transport in the city. To find out more details about these, contact Sheffield Community Transport or the Carers Centre helpline.
Buying a car
If the person you care for receives the higher rate mobility allowance and will do so for at least three years, they may be able to use it to buy or lease a car through the Motability scheme. They can do this either by contract hire (which means you rent the car, all maintenance, insurance and breakdown cover costs being included) or by hire purchase (under which the car belongs to you and you therefore have to meet those costs yourself).
Unfortunately, there is no help available with the cost of running the car, so you or the person you look after will have to weigh up carefully the expenses involved.
If the person you care for receives higher rate mobility allowance, they can apply for an exemption on road tax, either on their own car or on yours, as the carer. You need to bear in mind that technically, if the person nominates your car, you can only use it for carrying the disabled person, and you would be committing an offence if you use the car to go to work or for an evening out alone. There is more information on the DVLA website.
In exceptional circumstances, a disabled person may be exempt from the normal requirement to wear a seatbelt. If the disabled person thinks this could apply to them, they should consult their doctor who can issue an exemption certificate if s/he thinks it is appropriate.
There is no statutory funding to help pay for driving lessons for carers. Some charitable trusts will consider applications for this purpose. In particular, the Family Fund may pay for lessons for a parent of a severely disabled child under 16 where the parent has a modest income and access to a car.
The Family Fund can be contacted on:
0845 130 4542
Disabled people can get advice from an assessment centre about whether they would be able to drive and if so what adaptations would be necessary to enable them to do this.
Some of the well-known motoring organisations have special offers and services for drivers with disabilities. You may also like to consider getting a mobile phone if the person you look after would have difficulty getting out of the vehicle to summon help.
Parking – the Blue Badge scheme
A disabled person may be able to get a blue badge which enables them to park closer to their destination if they are getting higher rate mobility component, are blind or have permanent and substantial difficulty in walking. The disabled person does not have to be able to drive themself in order to qualify for a badge and they can be given to children over the age of two.
The scheme covers the whole country, but there are some places where it does not operate, or does so on a restricted basis – such as Central London – so you need to be aware of local regulations before using the badge.
To apply for a Blue Badge, you or the person you care for needs to contact Neighbourhoods and Community Care Access Team.
0114 273 4908
or you call into the First Point Reception at Howden House, Union Street.
Route Access & Map Planning can provide routes in the UK and Europe showing accessible facilities, e.g. toilets and service stations.
If travelling by train with someone who has mobility problems, it is always best to phone in advance to let station staff know you are travelling.
Buses are not generally the best way of travelling with a disabled person! The section on Sheffield Community Transport above, however, gives information about Sheffield’s Dial-A-Bus service.
Many taxis are now accessible to people in wheelchairs. If you need this kind of transport, it is worth trying to build up a relationship with a particular taxi company which you have found to be reliable.