Accessibility on board bus, train and tram
When you’re out and about, there’s lots of information to help you find where you need to go and keep you up to date.
All 12,000 stops and shelters in the West Midlands have got timetables and there are maps in key locations. And bus stations and many stops along main routes include electronic information displays, which provide details of the next buses to call at the stop including the service number, destination and the time that the bus will arrive.
If you’ve got a visual impairment or reading difficulties, we provide a small key fob device that can be used to activate an audio voice message which provides the exact same information.
With our on the move mobile app, you can locate any bus, train or Metro near you and find out the next departures for that stop. The app’s available free of charge from either the Android Market Place or iTunes store, just search for Network West Midlands in your app store. There’s a version available for Blackberry as well.
The new NetNav Mobile app is available for Android, iPhone and iPad. It allows you to plan your journey, change your plans while on route, view your next departures, obtain schedule times for bus, train and metro, monitor your journey and even keep a list of favourite journeys. Just search NetNav in your app store.
SMS Text Time: Each stop in the West Midlands has a unique eight-letter code which you’ll find at the bottom of the timetable. Simply text that code to 84268 and a few seconds later you’ll receive a text with the arrival time of the next bus (text charge 25 pence plus your standard network operator charges).
Travel Information Centres provide advice and guidance on planning journeys and purchasing tickets to travel.
Over 90% of buses are low floor and wheelchair accessible, more than any other metropolitan area outside London. They provide easy access for wheelchair users, people with mobility difficulties and parents with pushchairs and buggies. These buses are able to ‘kneel’ to reduce the step up, and drivers are expected to pull in close to the kerb for level access. If you need lower floor access and the driver has not knelt the vehicle, please do ask.
All buses have clearly marked priority seats for anyone who needs them. These priority seats have more legroom than a standard seat, and there is space underneath for an assistance dog.
The bus floor is non-slip and there are colour-contrasting handrails on the side of each door, with horizontal handrails in the gangway areas.
A dedicated wheelchair space is normally located on the right hand side of the bus. To travel safely, you’ll have to reverse into the space with the back of your wheelchair against the backrest. The wheelchair brakes will have to be applied too, as no additional restraint system is available. There’s a horizontal handrail on the right hand side of the space, with a vertical handrail on the left side. When the bus approaches your stop, you can press the bell push button located on the handrail which alerts the driver that you want to get off. There will be a sound and a sign will illuminate to indicate that the bus is stopping. The bus will pull into the kerb and the driver will put out the access ramp.
A summary of facilities available at each of our bus stations can be found here.
Stations and trains are becoming more accessible. New automatic audio announcement systems and electronic information screens have been installed at all stations, and they provide audible and visual information about the next train to arrive.
Trains have push-button-operated powered sliding doors, flat wide entrances, good internal lighting and handy grab rails. The floor areas near the doors have a colour-contrasted finish together with door opening and closing buttons that have colour-contrast surrounds, and tactile and Braille text. On the Birmingham to Coventry line, ‘Desiro’ trains have been introduced on many journeys, which have really helpful features such as audio and visual announcements, wheelchair-accessible toilets and priority seats for disabled people.
Accessibility at rail stations varies, so we recommend, where possible, that you try to plan your journey so that you use stations best equipped and staffed to meet your needs. If you think you may need assistance at the station or on the train, please let the train operators know you’re travelling, ideally one day in advance. Contact National Rail Enquiries at 0845 748 4950 or phone 0800 092 4260 for London Midland local services. Where stations are not accessible for a particular journey and no suitable alternative station exists, London Midland will provide a taxi to the nearest
accessible station for your journey at no additional cost. You can also book travel assistance when buying tickets online. A guide to some of the facilities available at rail stations within the West Midlands area is available here. It has information on how to access the platforms, how many steps there are on a footbridge or if a ramp or lift is available.
Station access information is also available on the National Rail website.
Go to http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations_destinations and enter the name of the station.
Metro is the modern, fully-accessible light rail system in the West Midlands. It provides a link between Snow Hill station in Birmingham City Centre and Wolverhampton City Centre. Every tram has been designed to enable easy access and there is level access between the tram and the platform edge. The trams have bright, colour-contrasting doors and handrails, priority seats for disabled people and people with mobility difficulties, two spaces for wheelchair users, next stop visual information and audio announcements. A customer service representative is always on board so please approach them if you need help.
If you’re a wheelchair user, you’ll be able to travel on public transport provided your wheelchair conforms to International Standard ISO 7193 (maximum length 1200mm and width 700mm). Trains used by London Midland only allow wheelchairs with the footrests folded to be carried, provided they fall within the dimensions of 1000mm length and 700mm width.
If you’ve got a scooter, you’ll need a permit which will guarantee you carriage with all companies that have signed up to the Confederation of Passenger Transport voluntary code of practice. The code sets out which models of scooters are allowed on buses and which are not, based on size. Scooter users who are allowed to travel in their scooter will be asked to take a training session on entering and exiting buses safely and will then be given a credit card-sized permit. For more information about how to apply for a permit, contact the National Express West Midlands’ training centre on 01922 856 172 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
There are many places with accessible toilets in the West Midlands. Many of them are controlled with a key that’s operated under the RADAR National Key Scheme. A list of toilets is available here.
There are many Shopmobility schemes in the West Midlands which can help you access town centres and shopping areas. The schemes are open to anyone with mobility difficulty, visual impairment or with temporary disabilities, such as a broken leg. Powered and manual wheelchairs and electric scooters are available for loan, and at some locations an escort can assist you with shopping or meet you when you arrive by public transport. Please click here for a list of centres.
The Blue Badge Scheme may be of great benefit to you as a driver or passenger. You can apply at your local Social Services Department or click here. Dedicated Blue Badge spaces are provided at all Network West Midlands rail stations and Metro Park & Rides, making it easier for you to use public transport.
If you’ve got a disability, you may also find our accessibility aids useful during your journey.
Public transport in the West Midlands is one of the safest in the UK, and crime has continued to fall year-on-year. Travelling by bus, rail or Metro has never been safer. We are the only tram network in the UK to achieve ‘Secure Tram Stop Award’ at every stop, and all but eight of the 60 rail stations in the area have achieved Secure Stations status.
The Safer Travel Police Team is a group of officers from West Midlands Police and British Transport Police who work on the bus, rail and Metro network to make transport safer and keep the community safe.
If you notice any nuisance behaviour on buses, you can report it by using the ‘See Something, Say Something’ initiative. Over 100 reports per month are made via ‘See Something, Say Something’ which feed into ongoing police work. You can either log on to www.safertavel.info or text ‘bus’, ‘rail’ or ‘metro’, leaving a space and then the message to 83010. To report incidents of a serious criminal nature, you can call West Midlands Police on 0845 113 5000 or 999 in an emergency.
CCTV cameras are available across the whole public transport network. Well over 1,000 cameras monitor bus, rail and Metro stations and bus stops across the West Midlands, with further cameras on board buses, trams and trains.
To find out more about safety and security initiatives and projects, visit the Safer Travel Partnership site.