Disabled Code of Practice

Discover all you need to know about our code of practice for disabled travellers, and how we can make your National Express experience better.

With over 21 million passenger journeys every year, we are committed to continually improving the service we provide and we will always listen to customer feedback to make sure we get things right.

Our Code of Practice includes a commitment to disability confidence training for our staff. It also takes into account our accessible coaches and expert advice on carrying manual wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

Our aims are to always deliver an outstanding service to every customer and to ensure everyone can make use of our services, as long as it is safe to do so.

"At National Express, we are passionate about providing consistently high levels of service to all our customers, whatever their circumstances..."

Tom Stables, National Express Coach Managing Director

Arranging assistance

Call our Contact Centre to arrange assistance, for journey details and general enquiries.

Coach Station facilities

To download or view a full list of facilities available to disabled customers at our coach and bus stations, see our Facilities Directory.


1.1 Who does the Code of Practice apply to?

Our code applies to all disabled customers including:

  • Wheelchair users travelling in their wheelchairs
  • Wheelchair users transferring onto a coach seat
  • Blind or partially sighted customers
  • Deaf or hard of hearing customers
  • Customers with learning disabilities
  • Customers with mobility difficulties
  • Customers with mental or physical health conditions

We recognise that some experiences of health conditions or disability are not visible. If you let us know your requirements we will aim to help wherever we can.

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1.2 Our commitment to you – what we can do

You can call or email our dedicated Assisted Travel Team to talk through any assistance needs (textphone/Minicom also available).

When calling, you will receive specialist assistance in planning your journey, arranging seat reservations and discussing ticketing options.

  • More general assistance issues can be discussed 24 hours a day  by calling our contact centre.
  • We will provide suitable methods of contact for deaf or hard of hearing customers via email, fax or textphone/Minicom, all available via our Assisted Travel Team.
  • We will provide access to large print information for blind or partially sighted customers; and if there are other formats you require, please just ask. These different formats are available on request within a reasonable timescale via our Assisted Travel Team.
  • While we are not yet able to reserve specific seats, we can set aside the front seats on our coaches as priority seats, with a directive that they be given up if needed by a disabled customer(s). Seats are subject to availability.
  • Our coach station staff all receive disability confidence training and they will offer great customer service every time.
  • We are committed to ensuring that all customers are treated with respect by our staff and, where we can, by other customers. Our staff are trained to deliver great customer service which includes a commitment to equality. If a disabled customer is subjected to any prejudice or ill-treatment by another customer, our staff will aim to prevent or stop this behaviour wherever possible.
  • If you need any assistance along the way, we recommend you let us know what you require at least 36 hours before you intend to travel with us (wherever possible). We will then advise you what assistance we can provide at each stage of your journey, dependent upon those locations where we have our own staff and those where we do not. The more information we have about your requirements, the better prepared we will be to meet your needs when you travel with us.
  • Our drivers and station staff will load and unload your luggage to and from the coach, but are unable to assist with items over 20kg.
  • If you need assistance getting on or off a coach, just let us know when booking your ticket. We will then let you know if the stop you will be using is staffed (as shown in Facilities Directory - see section 1.9 - Coach station facilities directory for details ). If it is, we will make sure our staff are there when you get on or off your coach (during the advertised opening hours). We will make every effort to provide this assistance in a prompt and timely manner.
  • We regularly invest in new coaches and virtually all of our fleet now has a passenger lift at the front entrance to make travelling with us as accessible as possible. Customers can use the lift if they are unable to use the steps and require step-free access to the coach. Wherever you can, please let us know in advance of travel so we can let the driver know before setting off.


1.2a Travel with wheelchairs

Wheelchair access to our coaches is via a lift located at the front of the coach. Our wheelchair accessible coaches have an extra large entrance and a flat floor throughout the coach to aid mobility.

  • For customers who can transfer from wheelchair to coach seat, wheelchairs are accepted subject to them being safely stored in the luggage hold of the coach. We are sorry but we are unable to accept wheelchairs heavier than 20kg in weight unless we have assistance lifting the wheelchair at each end of your journey (including any connections).

Please note:

  1. Our current selection of wheelchair-accessible coaches only has one wheelchair space, which means we cannot guarantee the space will always be available, so please call before you book your travel. Our dedicated Assisted Travel Team will arrange your booking for you and will make the driver aware of your requirements in advance.
  2. While many wheelchair users can travel whilst remaining seated in their wheelchair, please be aware that for important safety reasons, we cannot carry all wheelchairs in this way. We must therefore assess all wheelchairs to see if they are compatible for carriage on the coach itself. You can do this by calling our dedicated Assisted Travel Team before you travel. Alternatively, we will always ask what type of wheelchair you will be travelling with when booking your ticket.
  3. While our coaches are wheelchair-accessible, the toilets on our coaches are not. Should you have any requirements in this respect, please advise our Assisted Travel Team when discussing your journey.

We will accept wheelchairs for travel on our accessible coaches subject to the following:

  • The wheelchair space has not already been booked. As wheelchair space on our accessible coaches is limited, we recommend you notify our Assisted Travel Team of your requirements at least 36 before your journey wherever you can, just to avoid disappointment.
  • When notifying us, we ask that you give us details of the size, make and model of the wheelchair you will be travelling in so we can make the necessary safety checks. These checks relate specifically to whether the wheelchair can be safely secured in the wheelchair space on our accessible coaches.
  • We will advise you, either straight away or by calling you back, about the compatibility of your wheelchair on our accessible coaches.
  • For safety reasons, we can only accept powered wheelchairs operated by dry cell or gel-type batteries only.
  • While you can travel with your wheelchair on the day, for safety we must still approve its compatibility before you travel. Our customer service staff and/or our driver will call our 24-hour Network Control Centre for authorisation. However, due to the enormous range of wheelchairs available, we do ask that prior notice is given wherever possible.
  • We will ask you to confirm that you have read and understood our boarding instructions and safety guidelines which will be sent on via email or first class post once you have booked your assistance. These important documents can also be downloaded here.
  • We are sorry but we are unable to carry customers in scooters.

1.2b Mobility Scooters

While customers cannot travel in their mobility scooters, we do accept small lightweight mobility scooters for storage and carriage in the coach luggage hold. This is subject to the following conditions:

  • We are notified wherever possible via our Assisted Travel Team at least 36 hours before your journey.
  • When notifying us, you give us the details of the size, make and model of the mobility scooter you will be travelling with. This is so we can check with the manufacturer and ensure it is suitable for carriage on the coach.
  • We will advise you either at the time of booking or by calling you back, about the suitability of your mobility scooter for carriage on our coaches.
  • The mobility scooter must break down into separate parts each weighing no more than 20kg.
  • Due to the different duties we ask our drivers to carry out, we ask that you are accompanied at the point of departure and arrival by a companion who is able to dismantle and reassemble the scooter for carriage in the coach luggage hold.
  • Mobility scooters must be operated by dry cell or gel-type batteries only.

Other access needs

  • We welcome trained assistance dogs on all our coaches.
  • Assistance dogs should be trained by one of the following organisations, all of whom 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 will also carry ‘Buddy Dogs’ (a secondary scheme for Guide Dogs for the Blind). We regret that, in line with our General Conditions of Carriage no other animals can be carried.
  • We welcome customers who require oxygen carried in hand-held/personal oxygen bottles. Unfortunately, we cannot carry any larger canisters for safety reasons.
  • We will always advise you if you make a request we cannot fulfil.
  • If you notify us that your pre-booked arrangements did not meet your expectations, we will investigate and report back to you. You can get in touch via the different contact methods listed at the end of this document.
  • When meeting these commitments, we will take into account the Disability Discrimination Acts 1995 and 2005, together with the Equalities Act 2010, as they apply to all coach operations.

We also comply with all the relevant provisions of the Passenger Rights Act 2013 (see section 1.12)

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1.3 Our Commitment to you – what we cannot do

  • Our staff are not permitted to assist you with eating or with personal hygiene.
  • Health and Safety considerations mean that we cannot lift or carry you in any way (either on or off the coach), or take any other action that might put our staff’s own health, safety or welfare at risk.
  • We cannot provide any medical service such as giving injections. If you have a medical condition that requires others to provide this type of care, make sure you always travel with a companion, who can assist you during your journey.
  • Our drivers and staff are unable to provide personal care to customers who are either waiting to travel, travelling on a coach or who are arriving at a station/destination.
  • Our drivers and staff are unable to dismantle or reassemble mobility scooters or powered wheelchairs that we have approved for travel.
  • We cannot accept any wheelchair for travel on our accessible coaches that cannot be secured safely in the specified wheelchair space.
  • If we are unable to identify the make and model of your wheelchair and therefore are unable to confirm we can safely secure it on the coach, we will not authorise you to travel in your wheelchair. However we will happily take it in the luggage hold if you are able to transfer to a coach seat without being lifted, and your wheelchair meets our requirements for storage/carriage in this way.

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1.4 Planning a journey

You can plan a journey by visiting any National Express ticket office/agent or via the blue journey planner on any page on our website.
  • If you are disabled and/or need some assistance along the way, you can call our contact centre.
For wheelchair bookings and more specific assistance requirements, our dedicated staff are available between 8am and 8pm, 7 days a week. For more general assistance, you can call our contact centre 24 hours a day, including Sundays. Alternatively, you can fax us on: 0121 666 6872 or if you prefer, you can email us at: DPTH@nationalexpress.com

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1.5 Arranging assistance and buying a ticket

When calling our Assisted Travel Team, our dedicated staff can give you journey details, reserve you a front seat (subject to availability), book you a wheelchair space and sell you your ticket(s). They can also agree the level of assistance required at each stage of your journey and advise you on which services it can be provided.

Simply explain the assistance you need and once our advisors have assessed the details, they will give you all the information you will need for your journey.

Please make sure you give us as much information as possible before you travel as this will help us deliver the right service on the day. Our advisors will always do all they can to help.

If we can confirm all the information we need straight away, you can pay for ticket(s) over the phone.

Alternatively, if we have to call you back, we will take payment then.

Please note that if you are disabled and buying tickets via our Assisted Travel Team we can sell you all types of tickets.

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1.6 Disabled Coachcard

For just £10 a year, our Disabled Coachcard gives you 1/3 off your travel, all year round. It’s simple to buy and all you need in order to qualify is to have certification showing that you are disabled, which you might also be asked to show when you are travelling.

You are eligible if you receive disability-related benefits or are registered as deaf or use a hearing aid, or are registered as visually-impaired or have epilepsy.

The card offers discounts all year round – you can use your Coachcard at any time, every day, with no peak or off-peak restrictions.

Leaflets are also available at all our coach stations. Alternatively, call our Assisted Travel Team for more information..

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1.7 Concessionary fares – Scotland

For journeys within Scotland (including Carlisle and Berwick) people who qualify for the Transport for Scotland Scheme can still travel free of charge subject to the conditions of the scheme.

These are available online, or can be obtained by writing to Transport Scotland, Buchanan House, 58 Port Dundas Road, Glasgow, G4 0HF. Alternatively, you can email info@transportscotland.gsi.gov.uk or call 0141 272 7100 Monday to Friday between 8.30am to 5pm.

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1.8 Coach station and stop facilities

We can only offer practical assistance at stations where we have National Express staff and during the hours we have staff on-site.

We ask our teams at these locations to assist customers as appropriate.

National Express station staff and drivers are expected to:

  • Recognise and offer reasonable assistance, wherever possible or on request, to our disabled customers and those customers with any additional needs.
  • Be flexible, polite and respectful in their response to requests for assistance.
  • Respond to specific requests from our Assisted Travel Team, ensuring that particular/specified requirements are met.
  • Whenever possible, carry disabled customers’ luggage to/from the departure/pickup point (maximum weight 20kg).
  • If you are disabled, we will make every effort to offer you a seat in the priority seating area at the front of the coach, if you need this. We can request that customers occupying a priority seat give it up for you.
  • We will assist our customers with learning disabilities or with visual impairments, for instance to complete any forms or by reading leaflets and providing appropriate assistance to and from coaches.
  • We will keep our drivers and station staff informed of your specific requirements and ensure that they provide the appropriate assistance.
  • Drivers of incoming coaches to London Victoria Coach Station (VCS) will – when they have been notified to do so – request Mobility Assistance from the Transport for London (TfL) Help Point Team at VCS (see section 1.10).
  • Our staff will receive regular dedicated disability confidence training.
  • Our staff will be aware of and will use any equipment or aids provided by the company to assist our disabled customers.

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1.9 Coach station facilities directory

National Express carries customers to hundreds of different coach stops across the UK. Most of these locations are not staffed or owned by National Express.

The coach station facilities listed on our website are available to all disabled customers at all of our major bus/coach stations, where you will also find National Express staff. 

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1.10 Assistance at Victoria Coach Station (VCS) London

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

To pre-book Mobility Assistance at VCS, customers or ticket agents may telephone the Help Point on: 0207 027 2520 at anytime of the day or night.

Faxed bookings can be sent to: 0207 027 2512.

Alternatively, customers can book assistance via the TfL website.

Our Assisted Travel Team can also book assistance for you when planning your journey.

TfL advise us that the following conditions apply:

  • Passengers must make themselves known to a member of uniformed staff upon arrival at the coach station for assistance to be offered. If this is not possible, please ask your coach driver to inform VCS staff on your behalf.
  • The Mobility Lounge is open from 8am to 10.30pm. Outside of these hours, the TfL staff at VCS will do their best to meet your requirements, but this may not always be possible.
  • At peak times, mobility assistance may be delayed and the service may not be available when it is extremely busy.
  • The service is free of charge, but self-employed porters, who will expect payment for their services, are available for the carriage of your luggage.
  • You can be set down or picked up by taxi, minicab or private car at the Mobility Lounge.
  • If you have a ‘Through Ticket’, and you have to change coach at VCS, you should request assistance for both your coach arrival and departure using the methods stated.
  • If you’re departing from Bulleid Way (Green Line Coach Terminal), you’ll be assisted to the departure stop. VCS staff, however, cannot stay with you whilst you wait for your coach.
  • Mobility assistance can only be offered inside the general confines of Victoria Coach Station and Bulleid Way. We regret that we cannot offer assistance outside this area.

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1.11 National Express Assisted Travel Team

Our Assisted Travel Team (Disabled Persons Travel Helpline) is based in our Customer Service Centre in Central Birmingham. The team can be contacted by phone and are/will:

  • Available between 8am and 8pm seven days a week (you can send us a fax or email outside of these hours and we will deal with them at the earliest opportunity).
  • Specifically trained to respond to requests for assistance from our disabled customers. Advisors will ask for all the necessary and relevant information required to help us deliver the best possible service on the day of travel.
  • Respond to all requests for information and for disabled assistance within 24 hours. This includes contacts from our sales agents and/or company employees who may also take enquiries from our disabled customers.
  • Able to provide information for hearing-impaired customers via our textphone/Minicom on: 0121 622 2717 or via fax on: 0121 666 6872 or by email at: DPTH@nationalexpress.com
  • We will provide access to large print information for blind and partially-sighted customers; if there are other formats you require, please ask.
  • Provide journey-planning information upon request.
  • If asked, confirm your journey details in writing by letter or email including details of any agreed assistance subject to availability and 36 hours notice (wherever possible).
  • Follow the company’s procedure for communicating our commitments to station staff and coach drivers to ensure that booked requests are delivered successfully.
  • Investigate, follow-up and report back to you should you tell us about anything that went wrong with your journey. You can get in touch via the different contact methods listed at the end of this page.
  • Continually monitor the processes we have in place to communicate our services and policies throughout the business regarding our disabled customers and amend them as necessary to maintain high levels of service.
  • Give advice and guidance to our station staff and drivers on how they can best serve our disabled customers.

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1.12 Passenger Rights 2013

National Express actively seeks to comply with all relevant parts of EU legislation, Passenger Rights 2013.

The legislation applies to all customers travelling on domestic services within the EU and outlines what coach operators will do in different situations. Amongst other things, the Regulation provides guidelines on: travel for disabled customers, compensation processes, provision of information throughout passenger journeys and non-discrimination.

A full version of the legislation is available from: http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/passenger-rights/index_en.htm

We are committed to delivering a safe, inclusive and responsible network of services where our customers are suitably informed, assisted (where necessary) and compensated should anything go wrong.

Under the terms of the legislation, National Express will:

  • Not discriminate on nationality or where your ticket is purchased.
  • Not refuse travel based on the grounds of disability or reduced mobility (unless it is on the grounds of safety or the design of the vehicle).
  • Deliver disability awareness training to all front line staff (including our drivers).
  • Replace or repair any lost or damaged wheelchairs or other mobility equipment when it is proven that we are at fault.
  • Provide adequate information about your journey and throughout your journey (in an accessible format upon request).
  • Deal with any complaints within 3 months of receipt.
  • Provide reasonable and proportionate assistance should anything go wrong.
  • Provide adequate, appropriate and comprehensible details regarding rights under the Regulation, available upon request and in an accessible format.

If you feel your rights as a passenger have been breached, please let us know.

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1.13 Contact us

Thank you for travelling with National Express!

We really do welcome feedback and comments from all our customers, which helps us to understand how we can improve our service to you.

If you need any further information before you book your coach journey, or just wish to confirm any of the points raised in this leaflet, please contact us by any of the methods detailed below:

By calling our Disabled Persons Travel Team

By Textphone/Minicom: 0121 622 2717

By Fax: 0121 666 6872

Via email: DPTH@nationalexpress.com

By post:

The Assisted Travel Team
National Express
National Express House
Mill Lane
B5 6DD

All tickets are issued and passengers carried subject to the National Express General Conditions of Carriage.

Issued by: National Express Ltd, National Express House, Birmingham Coach Station, Mill Lane, Birmingham B5 6DD.

Business registration number: 2590560

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