It is good to make the most of life and get out and about as much as we can. If you do not drive, or you have had to stop driving, you could always ask family and friends for lifts or think about using public transport. You may be eligible for a bus pass and reduced price rail travel so ask a friend or family member to look into this on your behalf and complete any paperwork required if you are not able to do this personally.
Travelling by bus
You may be entitled to a free bus pass. The government offers a free pass to ‘eligible disabled’ people in England and Wales. Your local council will be able to tell you who issues the passes in your area. Find out more from the government information website. Disabled people, and people over 60 are entitled to free bus travel anywhere in Scotland with a National Entitlement Card - for more information on concessionary travel click here.
Travelling by taxi
You might want to consider using taxis in place of driving your own car, or if you find buses and trains difficult to use. It can be useful to set up an account with a local taxi company as it saves any worries you may have about handling money, try to choose a company that has been recommended to you or that you already trust and like.
Managing your own account and ordering taxis in advance can also help you keep your independence, or this can be done for you by family or friends if required. If you find a taxi driver who is particularly understanding, requesting that driver each time may give you more confidence when travelling by taxi alone. You could also ask your local council if they have a taxi scheme - some offer cheap or free travel for disabled people, which includes people with dementia.
Travelling by train
You can apply for a disabled person’s railcard if you receive Personal Independence Payments, at any level, for either the Mobility or Daily Living components. It can save you and your travelling companion up to a third on most rail fares. For full details visit the disabled person's railcard website. If you are concerned about travelling by rail alone, many rail companies now offer a Travel Assistance service where they give you help boarding the train, and can advise you where to get off. The National Rail Enquiries website gives you information on how to find out more about these services, as well as station accessibility.
Plan your journey
The disabled person’s railcard website has a range of useful information. It can help you or your travel companion to plan your journey in advance. You can find out which train company runs services from your local station and contact them if you think you will need help from the staff. If you use a walking support or a wheelchair, you can check if the station has accessible facilities.
If you are planning to use public transport in London, Transport for London is committed to making tube, train and bus travel in the capital more accessible for people with mobility issues and other disabilities. Their online journey planner, accessible station tube maps and staff assistance to buy tickets, access platforms or board trains will hopefully make travelling in and around London easier.
The Scottish Dementia Working Group has created a short film about Travel & Dementia, based on their personal experiences which you may find interesting. Click here.