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Getting around with a disability

Having a disabilty shouldn't stop you from getting around and having enjoyable experiences as you do so. Disability access, transport, travel and concessions are all things that we will explore here. There are plenty of ways that you can get around without encountering problems, but we know that there are also poor examples of where this hasn't been the case, which can cause not only upset but also embarrassment, anger, anxiety or even cause panic attacks.

We have included information about the various schemes available for to people living with a disability, as well as for their carer/friend.

Disability Access

Disability access can be challenging in all sorts of places outside your own home. There are some great places to go where you can just be yourself without having to worry about your disability. However having a condition like Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) or chronic pain, because it is an Invisible Disability, the general public can be very cruel and unrelenting. This is simply because they are unable to see it or comprehend the pain you feel.

Disability Access | Burning Nights CRPS Support

Getting Around On Public Transport

Getting around on public transport, into shops, toilets, cafes, bars, restaurants as a disabled person can be tasks that are filled with apprehension and thoughts such as:

'Am I going to get in there?'
'Will my scooter/wheelchair fit in that lift?'
'There are stairs to get up that floor sir, we don’t have a lift I’m afraid!'

As a disabled person, you have probably heard or thought these sorts of things and more before!

Disability Access


Of the disabled people who have contacted us about disabiloty access, most have come across many excuses for not having suitable disabled access or facilities (i.e. bathroom) Examples include:

'the building is too old to have a lift'
'well, we don’t have that many people in wheelchairs'
'once people come inside in their wheelchair, they usually get out and climb down the steps so we don’t need a ramp there'

…The list is endless. When we say 'excuses' it is because the majority of them are indeed just that, but that is not to say that every reason for not giving disabled access isn't valid. What 'excuses' have you heard?

Good Example of Listening & Changing Disabled Access

The Problem

The couple had been going to a pub near their home for a long time. Even before one of the couple became less-abled and in a wheelchair. The disabled access was round the back, next to the bins at the back gate. You had to go over rough old cobble stones to get the ramp to the back fire-exit door to try and get in.

There was no way of attracting the attention of a member of staff. This was a result of the back room that the back fire exit door wasn’t really used except on Sundays. At one time there used to be a small bell on the door jam next to the door. Although that had been taken off years before.

If you didn’t know about the disabled access entrance, you would think that it wasn’t possible to get in. This was a result of no signs on the front door to say where the access was. The couple had told the management on a couple of occasions and had asked to speak to the manager of the pub. Yet no reply ever came until they had gone to the pub one evening and went through the back gate.

There was glass everywhere on the ramp. This was in the cobbled area and there was also a long piece of wood with a couple of old rusty bent nails stuck in it. They couldn’t believe it. How dangerous not just for a wheelchair but any disabled person using the exit! The lady's husband went round to the front to go through the pub to the back exit.  So he could open the fire door for her to come up the steep short slope. This meant leaving the young woman on her own in a dark corner of a building with no lighting whatsoever.



Disability Information Signs
The Action

After complaining to the waiter and showing him the problem he said he would get the manager to telephone the couple at home. Which they agreed that was something they wanted. Unfortunately they again heard nothing until around 3 weeks later when the disabled woman decided to put a review on Trip Advisor.

The review said the access was terrible and something needed sorting. Within only a few hours of the review going live did they have a message from the manager of the pub saying he was sorry. Advising that he was unaware of the complaints and to telephone him, which they did.

The couple couldn’t believe what they heard… He was actually going to sort the access out! Yes you read that correctly, he promised that he was going to have talks with his management and building advisers. The young woman couldn’t believe it, finally someone was taking notice of disability and was planning on making the disabled access better for the pub. BRILLIANT!!!

While they were on the phone she went through things like the height of the bell. This was to advise the staff when someone was at the door, signs at the right height both at the front door where everyone goes through indicating there is a disabled access route into the pub. The gradient of the ramp, where to put the bell… Things that maybe not as obvious to someone not in a wheelchair or scooter or not with crutches or walking sticks.

Within a few weeks the access was ready and they couldn’t believe the transformation! There was a little lit pathway with good strong railings to the access door. Lovely clear signs both at the front door saying where the access was and at the entry point itself and the bell at the right height! Wow – what a change! All from writing on Trip Advisor.

So… You see the power of a written complaint can transform disability access all around the country, if you make your views known at the time to that person, company, shop, restaurant, manager or wherever it is needed. It doesn’t need a lot of funds to change access points into disabled friendly access, instead sometimes it can be done quite cheaply and it comes back to you in the form of revenue, repeat custom, new custom.. The list is endless.


Excellent Access At Symphony Hall, Birmingham

A fellow CRPS sufferer, Nita, from the UK contacted Burning Nights CRPS Support with this information about Symphony Hall in Birmingham:

"Symphony Hall Birmingham is excellent. With prior arrangement parking is allowed just outside the main entrance. People in wheelchairs (whether able to transfer or not) can sit in excellent positions with their party and not tucked into a corner somewhere. Staff are very helpful. Without being asked, a member of staff stowed my wheelchair and brought it to me at the interval. Before booking I phoned and the person taking the call was very helpful."


What do we need to do to poor improve disability access in the UK?

  • Talk to the manager of the shop, restaurant, bar, rail station, workplace or wherever you are and explain that you are disabled even if your disability may not at first be obvious
  • Explain about Invisible Disability and that disability comes in all shapes and sizes, there is not one uniform standard type of wheelchair or disability aid
  • Outline the possible simple changes that could be made to the place or building to help disabled people
  • Make posts about the problems you had on social media or on an online place like Trip Adviser
  • Get involved in disability campaigns so the law can change for the better - Yes, we do have laws covering disability access but they are not always enforced, which is wrong


Getting Around With A Disability

Travelling with a disability can seem a daunting prospect, so we have compiled some useful information on getting around with a disability, including disabled travel via train, car, buses, coaches, community transport as well as getting in and around London (UK).

Disabled Travel by Train

Disability access - train

Get 1/3 off train fares for you and a friend/carer with a Disabled Railcard. However, there is a yearly charge £20, or £54 for 3 years. You can receive various other discounts at specific hotels, restaurants and even days out, as well as receive assistance on and off trains. Beverley said:

"Recently travelled to Manchester by train in wheelchair and the assistance was a great help, staff couldn’t do enough for me, made the journey so much easier."



Disability access - car
  • Motability information – Over the past 30 years, Motability has helped millions of disabled people exchange their mobility allowance for a new car, mobility scooter or electric wheelchair.
  • Blue Badge Scheme – The UK Blue Badge scheme it easier for people with certain health conditions to access car parking spaces that are closer to their destination. As a Blue Badge holder you also be entitled to other concessions, including the M6 toll road (see below), some river crossings, bridges and tunnels. Find out more about the Blue Badge scheme.
  • Notifying DVLA – You must tell DVLA if you have a driving licence and either: you develop a 'notifiable' medical condition or disability; or, a condition or disability has got worse since you got your licence. You must notify the DVLA of any disability or condition that may affect your driving.
  • Vehicle Road Tax – Check your entitlement to exemption or discount of vehicle road tax and find out the various types of vehicle that are exempt from vehicle tax (car tax), i.e. vehicles used by disabled people, mobility scooters, historic vehicles, electric vehicles, mowing, etc.
  • M6 Toll Mobility Exemption – If you travel along the M6 toll road in the UK, then you may be entitled to an M6 toll mobility exemption pass, which you will need to apply for.


Buses & Coaches

Disability access - buses and coaches


Coach Travel

  • National Express – With a Disabled Coachcard you can get 1/3 off National Express standard coach fares on travel anywhere in the UK, when accompanied by a paying adult. There are also accessible coaches as well.
  • City Link (Scotland) – The National Entitlement Card means that you can get FREE travel on City Link coaches.
  • You can get FREE travel if you use your National Entitlement Card on City Link coaches. To find out more, visit Transport Scotland's website.
  • Goldline (Northern Ireland) – With a SmartPass you can get half-price travel Goldline coaches in Northern Ireland. To find out more, visit NIDirect.


Community Transport


Travel in & Around London

  • For people who have a disability listed and who live in London, or their sole residence is in London, you can apply for a Disabled Persons Freedom Pass. The pass can be used on most journeys across London, with a few exceptions to where and when you can use the card. Visit the London Councils website for more information on eligibility, applying and using your card.
  • The Taxicard, just like the Disabled Persons Freedom Pass, is for people who have a disability listed and who live in London, or their sole residence is in London. You can apply for a Taxicard with an application form from your respective London Borough, which you can find through the London Councils Borough Map. The Taxicard can be used every day, 24/7 and 365 days of the year.


Days Out With A Disability


  • CEA Card – Cinema’s Exhibitors Association (CEA): Visit participating UK cinemas nationwide and get discounted tickets or a free ticket for accompanying friend/carer by applying for a CEA Card. The cost is a yearly fee of £6.00.

Theatres & Concerts

  • If you love seeing shows or music live but find them expensive, try booking with the venue directly by contacting their box office or accessibility line and enquire if they have any concessions for disabled. Some places will offer a free ticket for accompanying carer or friend and will help to provide seats in an accessible area to suit your needs and for wheelchair.
  • There are several London theatres who are focused on disability ticket concessions or concessions for your carer/friend. Visit Cheap Theatre Tickets for the list <>
Don’t be afraid to ask for concessions. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!

Day Trips

Similar to with theatres and concerts, contact the venue directly to enquire whether they have any concessions for people with a disability. Some might offer a free ticket for accompanying carer or friend and, in rare cases, some even offer free entry. If attending theme parks with children, some parks offer queue-jump access.

National Trust & English Heritage

Both the National Trust and English Heritage give FREE entry to companions or carers of disabled visitors. The disabled visitor pays the normal admission fee or membership.

To save having to ask for free entry at a National Trust property, you can apply for an Access for All Admit One Card in advance by contacting the Support Service Centre: telephone (01793 817634) or email ( They will need the name and full postal address of the disabled person.

Concessions At Public Libraries

Some libraries offer the following services at a reduced rate or free of charge to disabled people:

  • Computer access
  • Audio and visual material
  • Overdue books

This will vary between local authorities, so check with your local council.

Concessions At Football Matches

Some football clubs offer concessions to fans with disabilities, as well as their carers. You need to check with the individual football club to see what concessions they offer. Most clubs will want proof of disability, for example using your DLA/PIP disability letter from the DWP.


Do you have somewhere you go that has good or bad disability access? Do you have any more information about the different concession available for disabled people? If so please contact us so that we can keep this page as up-to-date as possible.

*The third parties mentioned on the Burning Nights CRPS Support website are exclusively responsible for their own products and services. Burning Nights CRPS Support accepts no liability in relation to third party product or services or any failure to supply such products or services. You may access third party websites through links contained on Burning Nights CRPS Support website. Such third party websites are not under the control of Burning Nights CRPS Support and Burning Nights CRPS Support is not responsible for the availability of such websites or their content. Any links provided on our or their websites are provided for your interest or convenience only and do not represent or imply any endorsement of such linked websites by Burning Nights CRPS Support. You acknowledge that your use of such third party websites is governed by the terms and conditions of use as applicable to those websites.*

*Burning Nights CRPS Support is in no way liable or responsible for any external links on any page of this website. They are suggestions only.*



Last Updated: 16/09/2019

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