Disabled passengers are set to navigate buses with greater ease, thanks to almost £5 million being made available to roll out audible and visual announcements throughout Great Britain. In the latest of a string of initiatives to improve accessibility across public transport, applications have today (8 April 2024) opened for small bus and coach operators to bid for a share of £4.65 million to install state-of-the-art technology that will both display and announce information clearly for all passengers, including those with sight and hearing impairments.

Known as the Accessible Information Grant, this funding will be vital in supporting small operators to fit screens, speakers and induction loops guaranteeing passengers are informed about which route they are on and what stop they are at throughout their journey.

The grant applications support regulations that were introduced last year requiring all bus operators to provide audio and visual updates on journeys, and follow £350 million announced last year to improve accessibility at train stations thanks to reallocated HS2 funding.

Last year, regulations were introduced requiring all bus operators throughout Great Britain to provide high-quality and accessible announcements across their networks to ensure disabled people are not left in the dark when it comes to using our public transport. By supporting smaller bus companies, this funding will help ensure that all operators are able to meet that October 2026 deadline.

This comes as the government, alongside charity Scope, has published the Right to Ride guide which helps disabled people and others with reduced mobility when using bus, coach, taxi, private hire vehicle and rail services by compiling helpful travel information together in one easy-to-read document.

Right to Ride explains the actions a disabled person can take when a journey has been disrupted or the assistance provided is unsatisfactory or has failed, providing guidance on:

  • the rights of disabled passengers travelling across Great Britain
  • what to expect in terms of assistance
  • what to expect in terms of accessibility
  • how to make a complaint if travel does not go as planned
  • how to claim compensation or redress

This guide is a positive step forward in helping disabled people know their rights and how to find assistance across land modes of transport, set out as a priority in the Inclusive Transport Strategy (ITS).

This follows on from a number of initiatives to improve accessibility across transport, including funding step-free access at over 240 train stations through our Access for All programme, as well as the further £350 million to come.

The government has also committed to publishing a National Rail accessibility strategy, announced plans to strengthen air passenger rights for disabled passengers, released new training on handling powered wheelchairs on aircraft and the Air passenger travel guide.

The department also runs the it’s everyone’s journey campaign, a government-backed initiative to highlight the part we can all play in improving disabled people’s experiences when using public transport. This is all on top of the Disability Action Plan which sets out the immediate actions the government will take in 2024 to improve disabled people’s everyday lives and lays the foundations for longer-term change.

Source: £4.65 million for bus operators to help disabled passengers travel with confidence – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)