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Code of practice

Code of Practice - Serving Disabled Customers


Introduction
 

This code of practice is designed to ensure that all disabled customers are offered a common high standard of service when travelling with National Express.

This code is designed for use within the National Express and sets out our commitment to disabled customers and the roles and responsibilities of the company, its employees and partners in meeting those needs.

Who does the code of practice apply to?


Our code applies to all disabled customers, including:

  • Wheelchair users
  • Blind or partially sighted customers
  • Deaf or hard of hearing customers
  • Customers with learning disabilities
  • Customers with mobility difficulties


Our commitment to you - What we can do


  • We will provide a Disabled Persons Travel Helpline that is staffed every day from 8 in the morning until 8 at night (7 days a week). If you call our Helpline, you will get specialist information about your journey, seat reservations and ticket sales.
  • If you need any assistance you must tell us 24 hours before you intend to travel what it is you require. We will advise you what assistance we can provide at each stage of your journey where we are able to provide our own staff. The more information we have about your requirements, the better prepared we will be to meet your needs when you travel with us.
  • While we are not able to reserve specific seats, on our coaches, the front seats in the coach are labelled, as priority seats, with a request that they be given up if required by disabled customers. Seats are subject to availability.
  • We will provide suitable methods of contact for deaf or hard of hearing customers via a text phone system and via email and fax on our Disabled Persons Travel Helpline.
  • We will provide access to large print information or audiotapes for blind or partially sighted customers on request, and within a reasonable time scale, if contacted via our Disabled Persons Travel Helpline.
  • At our own staffed stops/ coach stations we will offer customer service from staff who have received disability awareness training.
  • Our drivers and station staff will assist with the loading and unloading of customers' luggage in the coach, but may need assistance with items over 20kgs.
  • If you need assistance getting on or off a coach, advise us via our Helpline when you book your ticket and we will be able to tell you whether the stop you will be using is staffed as shown in the table on page 10. If it is, we will make sure that staff are there when you get on or off the coach. Every effort will be made to provide this assistance in a timely and comfortable manner.
  • We will accept lightweight manual wheelchairs for travel, subject to them being capable of being stowed in the luggage hold of the coach. We regret that we are unable to accept manual wheelchairs that are more than 20kgs in weight.
  • We are currently working with coach manufacturers and the DfT to provide coaches that are fully wheelchair accessible.
  • We will accept small mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs for travel subject to the following:-
    -Being notified via our Disabled Person Travel Helpline at least 24 hours before the journey.
    -When notifying our helpline, customers give us the details of the size and make of the powered wheelchair/scooter to enable checks to be made on the manufacturer's website that it is suitable for carrying on the coach.
    -We will advise customers, either at the time or by calling them back about the suitability of their scooter/powered wheelchair for carriage on our coaches.
    -The scooter or powered wheelchair will break down into separate parts each weighing no more that 20kgs.
    -The disabled customer is accompanied at the point of departure and arrival by a companion who is able to dismantle and reassemble the powered wheelchair/scooter to enable stowage in the coach.
    -The powered wheelchair/scooter is operated by dry cell batteries only.
  • We will accept assistance dogs trained by one of the following organisations which are members of Assistance Dogs UK: Guide dogs for the Blind, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Dogs for the Disabled, Support Dogs, Canine Partners for Independence. We regret that no other animals will be carried.
  • We will allow customers who require them to carry personal oxygen supplies in hand held bottles.
  • We will advise you if you make a request that we cannot fulfil.
  • If your pre-booked arrangements have not met your expectations and you notify us, we will investigate and report back to you.
  • We welcome feedback and comments from disabled customers about how we can improve our service to you.
  • When we design and plan new or refurbished facilities we take account of the needs of disabled customers so we welcome your feedback.


In meeting these commitments, we will take into account the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 as it applies to coach operations.

Our commitment to you - What we cannot do


  • Our staff are not permitted to assist customers with their eating or personal hygiene. Health and safety considerations mean we cannot lift or carry you, and cannot provide medical services such as giving injections. If a medical condition requires others to provide this type of care, you should travel with a companion who can assist you during your journey.
  • Our drivers and staff are unable to provide personal care services at coach stations or during the journey.
  • Our drivers and staff are unable to dismantle or reassemble mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs that have been approved for travel.


Planning a Journey


Customers can plan their journey by visiting a National Express ticket office/agent or via the Internet at www.nationalexpress.com. Disabled customers can also telephone us on 08717 818179, fax us on 0121 454 8052, or e-mail us at DPTH@nationalexpress.com.

Arranging assistance and buying a ticket


The Disabled Persons Travel Helpline is available every day from 8 in the morning until 8 at night (7 days a week). Customers will find staff here who can give journey details, take reservations, sell tickets, agree the level of assistance required at each stage of the journey and advise on what can be provided.

Coach Station and Stop facilities


National Express scheduled services stop at more than 1000 destinations every day. Practical assistance can only be offered at stops that are staffed by National Express employees (see Coach Station Facilities.). Our teams at these locations shall be required to assist as appropriate.

Our own Station Staff and Drivers will be expected to:


  • Recognise and offer assistance, wherever possible, to disabled customers and those customers with additional needs.
  • Be flexible, polite and respectful in their response to requests for assistance.
  • Respond to specific requests from the Disabled Persons Travel Helpline ensuring that particular requirements are met.
  • When possible, carry a disabled customers' luggage to/from the departure/pickup point.
  • Ensure that, when possible, the disabled customer is offered a seat in the priority seating area at the front of the coach.
  • Request that customers occupying a priority seat give it up for a disabled customer.
  • Help customers with learning disabilities or those with visual impairments, who need assistance, to complete our forms as appropriate.
  • Assist blind and partially sighted customers by reading leaflets and provide appropriate assistance to them to gain access to and from coaches.
  • Keep other drivers or station staff informed of the specific requirements of the disabled customer and ensure they provide appropriate assistance.
  • Drivers of inbound coaches to Victoria Coach Station (VCS) in London, will, when they have been requested to do so, request Mobility Assistance from the Help Point team at VCS.
  • Attend any disability awareness training provided by the company.
  • Be aware of and make use of any equipment/aids provided by the company to assist disabled customers.


Our own station staff and Drivers will not be expected to:


  • Lift or carry customers on and off coaches or take any other action that may put their own health, safety or welfare at risk.
  • Provide personal care to customers that are waiting to travel, during the coach journey or on arrival at destination.
  • Provide any form of medical services, such as giving injections.
  • Dismantle or reassemble powered wheelchairs or mobility scooters that have been approved for travel.


Concessionary Fares


Concessionary fares are available to anyone aged 60 and over together with certain groups of disabled people (as defined in the Transport Act 2000).

Concessionary fares entitle those who are eligible to 50% off an adult single, day return or economy fare on a day when economy fares are charged. On days where standard fares are charged those eligible will be entitled to the normal Discount Coachcard rate on all single, day return or standard fares but without the need to buy a discount card to qualify. For the full terms, conditions and information on concessionary fares scheme visit: www.nationalexpress.com, call: 08717 818179 or ask your National Express agent.

Eligible disabled people of any age may qualify for concessionary fares however, they may be asked to produce a local authority concessionary travel pass or other identification. Disabled customers should be prepared to produce this proof of eligibility at any point in their journey if requested.


Coach Station facilities


National Express carries customers between more than 1000 different coach stops across the UK. Most of these locations are not staffed or owned by National Express.

However the facilities listed are available to disabled customers at the major bus/coach stations which are controlled or staffed by National Express.

Click here to see a list of facilities available to disabled customers at the major bus/coach stations.

Assistance at Victoria Coach Station (VCS) London


Victoria Coach Station (VCS) is owned and operated by Transport for London and provides its own Mobility Assistance service for National Express and other coach operators' customers with impaired mobility.

To pre-book Mobility Assistance at VCS customers or their agents may telephone the Help Point on 020 7824 0000 at any time of the day or night. Faxed bookings may be sent to 020 7824 0016. The following conditions apply:

  • The service is free of charge, but self employed porters, who will expect payment for their services, are available for the carriage of luggage.
  • Customers can arrange to be set down or picked up by taxi, minicab, or private car at the help point in the station.
  • Customers with National Express 'through' tickets involving a change of coach at Victoria (VCS) should advise the driver of the inbound coach that they require Mobility Assistance, which the Driver will request on arrival. VCS staff will meet the arriving coach when called.
  • Customers with National Express tickets for a departure from the Bullied Way coach stop (Greenline) will be taken or assisted to the departure stop. However, VCS staff are unable to remain with them if the departing coach is delayed.
  • Customers with National Express 'through' tickets who arrive at the Bullied Way coach stop (Greenline) will be taken or assisted from there to VCS when the Help Point at VCS is advised that they have arrived and are ready to transfer.
  • The Mobility Assistance service at Victoria Coach Station is available between 10 in the morning and 6 in the evening. At other times VCS will try to meet customers' requirements, but some delay in meeting coaches may occur.


National Express Disabled Persons Travel Helpline


The Disabled Persons Travel Helpline is based in the Customer Contact Centre in Birmingham. The team staffing the Helpline can be contacted by calling 08717 818179 and will:

  • Be available every day between the hours of 8 in the morning and 8 in the evening 7 days a week. Faxes and emails can be sent outside of these hours and will be dealt with at the earliest opportunity.
  • Be specifically trained to respond to requests for assistance by disabled customers, and will ask for the information required to enable the service to be provided wherever possible.
  • Respond as soon as possible, and in all cases within 24 hours, to requests for information and assistance from disabled customers or from sales agents and company employees who may deal with disabled customers.
  • Provide access to information for hearing impaired customers by use of the text phone - Minicom 0121 455 0086 via fax on 0121 454 8052 or email on DPTH@nationalexpress.com
  • Provide large print or taped information services to blind and visually impaired customers upon request, as long as 48 hours notice is given.
  • Provide journey-planning information on request.
  • If requested by the customer, confirm in writing the journey details and any agreed assistance, subject to availability and 48 hours notice.
  • Follow the company's procedure for communicating the commitments made to the customer to station staff and the coach drivers to ensure that accepted requests for assistance are correctly fulfilled.
  • Follow up, investigate and report back to the customer on any service failings relating to their journey.
  • Monitor the processes used to communicate services and policies regarding disabled customers throughout the business and amend to maintain effectiveness.
  • Give advice and guidance to staff and drivers on how they should best serve disabled customers.


Thank you for travelling with National Express


If you require any information before you book your coach travel, or wish to confirm any of the points raised in this leaflet, please contact us...

Disabled Persons Travel Helpline:
08717 818179
Textphone/minicom service 0121 455 0086

Or you can write to us at:
National Express Customer Support
Disabled Persons Travel Helpline
PO Box 9854
Birmingham
B16 8XN

Or fax us on:
0121 454 8052

Or e-mail us at:
DPTH@nationalexpress.com

Or contact us via:
Any National Express ticket agent

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