Mobility scooter needs a bus permit

No permit so no journey

In late July 2017 I was getting onto a bus at High Wycombe with my mobility scooter. The Arriva bus driver said “The mobility scooter needs a bus permit. Can I see it”

Arriva are responsible for running all the buses in the towns close to where I live. I have to use the buses because double vision makes driving an interesting experience.

I have no bus permit so the driver said ‘No permit so no journey’. 🙁

To cut a long story short

I had to catch the next bus after persuading the management of Arriva buses that this was news to me. The same problem arose later on the same day at another bus station. Now my mobility scooter needs a bus permit!

More petty bureaucracy? I already have a bus concession pass but I had a feeling there was not going to be a swift conclusion to the bus permit story.

The next day

I ‘phoned Arriva customer support and explained my problem. They asked me some simple questions about the Travelscoot and promised me someone would visit me and assess it. Three weeks later and I am deafened by the silence.

My mobility scooter needs a bus permit

An Arriva bus at Hemel Hempstead

Three weeks later

I ring up Arriva customer services again. I spoke to a different person this time and I told them my story. The agent gave me an incident number and said that Hemel Hempstead bus depot would give me a ring within a few days.

Two weeks later

Four interesting developments but still no information on how to get my bus permit.

  • Not heard from Hemel Hempstead bus depot.
  • Google did not know their phone number.
  • Telephoned Arriva customer services but no response
  • I was getting cross.

Now I ring Travel Line

They suggested I contact my county council and ask to speak to the Department for a mobility scooter bus permit. Apparently buses now require a bus permit to show that I can manoeuvre a mobility scooter. Incidentally telephone numbers for bus depots are ex-directory for security reasons.

Then its the County council

No use but they suggested I phone up Hemel Hempstead bus station and gave me the phone number. I rang it but the number is for a company called Blizzard which is nothing to do with Hemel Hempstead bus station.

Back to Arriva customer support

I now phone up Arriva customer services and have to wait 15 minutes to speak to someone. By now steam was coming out of my ears because I had spent over two hours on the phone.

Finally I spoke to an Arriva customer services agent. I quoted the original incident number but the agent could not track it down.  The agent was quite smart and realised a zero was missing from the incident number, not too sure who to blame for that one.

Defused my anger

The agent realised I was not a happy bunny and took some more details. The request for a bus permit was sent to Hemel Hempstead bus depot. I was promised they would get back to me that day. Need I say that I am still waiting for a phone call.

Mobility scooter needs a bus permit

I should have sorted out this problem yonks ago but 4 years later I still trust to luck. Has anything like this happened to you with a class 2 mobility scooter? Feel free to write in and tell me your story. I am going to write to my MP. Please read the comments.

Originally published in 2017.

Associated articles

Concessionary Bus Pass For Travel






Disabled access is not a tick box exercise






Sept 2017


38 responses to “Mobility scooter needs a bus permit”

  1. Karen Brayford says:

    I live in North Wales near rhyl and arriva supply our buses and I have just been told you need an orange permit to get on I’m not allowed to let you on without.

    • Hello Karen,

      Don’t talk to me about Arriva. In Bucks and Herts they wee so inefficient. I flashed my disabled person’s bus pass and that was usually sufficient. I have recently moved to London where I will need a Freedom pass but I do not anticipate any problems

  2. Charles Clarke says:

    I have a permit for my scooter and it run out in marchv17th 23 I phoned arrive customs service once a week from January 23 and only just had my drive on test today I have wrote to arrive told the all the meeting about I had and thay need to look in to how thay deal with permit for scooters as there way don’t work for all I liverpool I live and last time was so easy this time was a nightmare I under stand why we need one but thay don’t make it easy like one phone number for ur area and someone to deal with it with in a week

    • Hello Charles,

      I do not have a good word to say for Arriva. Almost never answer the phone and when they do nothing ever happens. I now live in London, the transport system for people who use wheelchairs and mobility scooters is much better. I just need to organise a freedom pass

  3. Rei says:

    I got a scooter permit for my local area (Oxford) fairly easily. However, I then tried to contact where I work (Bristol) to get a permit for that area and they told me it might take a few months. 8 months later I have finally contacted them again to ask why I’ve not heard, and it sounds like they might be willing after all to accept a permit issued by another operator. Would have really made my commute a lot easier all this time. When I think of all the work socials I had to turn down because I didn’t think I could get there…!

    • Hello Rei,

      I’m sure your story is not unique. Too man people do not understand the problems of being living with a disability and the frustrations it causes. Sometimes a little bit if joined up thinking would make a huge difference

  4. The best way to contact Arriva for me in Berkhamsted and get things moving is by using Twitter. The handle is @arrivetheshires. I sent them a tweet and received a response within 2 hours. I am now waiting for the depot to call me. If I have not heard from them within a week I will then send another Tweet. I have used social media with success when similar problems

  5. Sean prendergast says:

    I’ve been in touch with my MP Mark Pawsey Nd he’s written back to say he been in touch with Barowness Vere of Norbiton asking to.check into the problem of thousands of people up n down the country having problems getting a bus scooter permit- I don’t know how long this will take but I’m travelling via train from Rugby to Grt Yarmouth and then bus hopefully onto Hopton to holiday in a caravan for a week, let’s just hope my wife n I will do this in July 🤔

    • Hello Sean

      I’m impressed. You have inspired me to write to my MP about this problem. It is Mr Gagan Mohindra, conservative. I will mention Baroness Vere of Norbiton in my letter. I’m sure there are plenty of other people who use buses and are in the same situation. I will keep you posted via this age on my website

  6. Sean prendergast says:

    I’m so frustrated I’m going away to Yarmouth in July via train and various buses and am getting know where trying to sort a permit to take my foldable scooter I need advice I live I rugby

    • Hello Sean,

      Trains do not need anything but get a disabled persons railcard for a 1/3 off prices. Speak to your local bus company in Rugby, there is a sort of bus passport but I know very little about it. There is no national policy

  7. Viv Prendergast says:

    I meant to say how do I get a permit for my husband as we’re going away in the summer and he has a mobility scooter which is foldable

  8. Viv Prendergast says:

    How do I get a bus pass for my husband

  9. darran Beal says:

    I called stagecoach Oxford at 9;30 am and at 1 pm a man came out and measured my scooter, he said it was within the measurements and issued me a permit there and then. No problem.

    • Hello Darran,

      Well done and congratulations.

      I’m in area served by Arriva, they are hopeless. I’ve given up, use the buses very infrequently and prefer trains whenever possible.

  10. Catherine Chedzoy says:

    I got a mobil scooter and wish to get a permit to travel by bus and train

  11. Freda Jauncey says:

    Do you need a permit to push a smarty automatic folding
    Mobility scooter on the bus its its smaller than some
    Shopping trolley s

    • Hello Freda,

      I’m not is a position to give you a definitive answer.

      My local bus company on very very rare occasions will not allow me onto the bus unless I produce a permit or what they call a passport. I have often called customer service and frequently spoken to a customer rep in a booth in out nearest turn and I have made no progress to getting a passport. They have my address, mobile number and email address. I am rapidly losing interest and nowadays I hope and just wing it. The same company runs some London buses which I use and never had any problems

      Mi mobility is smaller than many buggies for children. At a push it can be folded up but I have been asked to. Incidentally I have been told mobility scooters are not allowed onto some buses in Edinburgh

      It seems to be the luck of the draw, call it a postcode lottery

  12. John Thomson says:

    At last….success. Edinburgh Trams have changed the permitted length of mobility scooters from 1000mm to 1200mm. Just as well because their own original advertising shows a Sterling Sapphire2 which is way beyond 1000mm.

  13. John Thomson says:

    It really is a ridiculous minefield of red tape and jobsworths trying to use a scooter on a bus. Who decided that 1000mm was to be the maximum permitted length, or that Class 3’s were banned outright?
    How many Class2’s qualify? My Kymco Mini is 1008mm but exactly what type/make is 1000mm or less?

    • Hello John,

      I would call it a postcode lottery. So far Arriva in Bucks, Beds an Herts are not terribly interested in assessing my scooter. Class 3 scooters are really too big and heavy, they are like motorbikes Not too sure who sets the 1000 mm rule, suspect it was done without too much investigation

  14. DavidR1 says:

    Same problem here with Arriva. I live in Herts as well. I was meant to have my Bus test today. Basically they would ring me to meet at midday. OK I am still here waiting for my bus test. I was told to get my photos rewatch if I pass the bus test then I would be handed my bus pass. I have already had to trade my other scooter in because although it met the requirements of Arriva overall, the local depot has said no they subscribe to a different set of rules. ???? So I will be on the phone tomorrow to find out what is going on.

    • Hello,

      I have for the time being given up pursuing this matter. Arriva customer service are totally useless and the bus drivers do not dwemand to see a permit. I need to try again but suspect it will be more wasted time

      Arriva need to sort this out and get it working properly from their end

  15. I think I’d just lift mine in and tell the driver to call the polit bureau. I lift mine in and out of taxis, so why not buses? I have to admit that this sort of story has scared me off using mine on buses so far but one day I will have to and I won’t have a permit. If it’s not in the way what’s the issue? Do prams need permits? A TravelScoot is no bigger – in fact it’s probably smaller than some. Absolutely crazy. For a tiny TravelScoot this is discrimination really.

    • Hello,

      I suspect that any form of public transport is going to need some proof that the scooter is is suitable to go on the bus/train and that you can drive it. Travelscooter is fine but some scooters are big, heavy (70 – 100 K + rider) and cumbersome. I do agree about discrimination but quite soon I can see that we are going to have to ‘man-up’. Luckily people can see that there is no need to ask for a permit for a Travelscoot

      I can see another article coming up about this quite soon. Telling people what to do.

  16. Allan McMillan says:

    A huge corporation like Arriva joins a scheme that sounds sensible. It make no efforts to inform its passengers; then instructs its drivers to refuse them boarding, unless they have by an unknown method found out that Arriva has joined the scheme.
    They must allow scooters until they have adequately publicised the change. Disgaceful!

  17. Hello,

    I will report progress as and when it happens

  18. Alasdair Baxter. says:

    Yes, I had a similar difficulty with Nottingham City Transport. However, they were much more efficient. They made an appointment to meet me at a designated bus stop but despite getting there in time, nobody turned up. However, they did phone me and arranged a meeting the following week. A relatively elderly bus turned up with nobody on board except a driver. I had to drive my scooter up a ramp into the bus but the TravelScoot didn’t have the necessary power. (It reminded me of when I took my driving test on a 1928 Austin 7 some sixty odd years previously. It didn’t have the power to do a hill start so I had to do a three-point turn on the hill and do the hill start in reverse which is a lower gear than first. I passed.) The incline on the ramp was such that I fell backwards and had to be stopped from falling on to my head by the combined efforts of the bus driver and my wife. In the event, I got off the scooter and pushed it manually up the ramp and on to the bus. I had to do a few manoeuvers and I was told I passed the Scooter Driving Test and a bus permit would follow in due course. It did but I was never asked for it since then. Apparently, the permit is accepted by all the major bus companies in the UK. Incidentally, some railway companies want me to apply for a permit to be allowed to take my scooter unfolded on to their trains.

    • Hello,

      Your story gives me hope that Arriva will get out and do something eventually. Driving test sounds interesting.

      Incidentally when taking a Travelscoot up a slope you must lean forward, basically keep your body vertical. Remember it is rear wheel drive plus your weight is towards the rear so there is a tendency for the front wheels to lift up and the whole thing to go over backwards. Don’t worry it has happened to mew as well.

  19. David Jeffrey says:

    I had a similar experience in Edinburgh a couple of years ago. The buses there are all equipped with ramps, but when I tried to board on my Travelscoot I was told “It’s not a wheelchair”. The driver would not let me on.
    I wrote a letter of complaint, as did some friends, to Lothian Transport. Possibly as a result of that (or maybe just coincidentally) now you can use certain smaller mobility scooters on buses in Edinburgh, but a permit is required. Getting one is easy, fortunately – but it means visiting one of Edinburgh’s Travel Centres and waiting a couple of weeks for the permit to arrive. Very inconvenient if you are a visitor.
    I think it would be sensible for the UK to have some standard, nation wide, permit for class 2 scooters. Hopefully one it is straightforward to obtain!

    • Hello,

      My sister lives in Edinburgh and has told me all of her trials and tribulations using a mobility scooter on the bus system. She used to use a Travelscoot because of chronic hip problems caused by arthritis. Hre Travelscoot is in hibernation at the moment

  20. Ted Phillips says:

    I tried to board a Metro Bus in Horley to travel to Crawley for a computer lesson. The driver would not let board unless I had a Scooter permit. I did not know a permit was needed. Called Metro buses and eventually after three weeks an inspector came to the house and escorted me onto a bus and showed me the procedure for boarding the bus and the alcove on the bus reserved for Scooter and wheelchair users. Same in London. TFL sent two delightful people to escort me and show me the ropes. Both Metro and TFL gave me a Scooter permit as soon as they were sure that I understood the procedure for boarding buses.
    The Scooter needs to be not more than a metre long. Otherwise you may have difficulties using it on the bus.

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