Transport

21. Where can I get information and advice about driving (e.g. whether I can continue to drive)?

You must tell the DVLA if you have, or have ever had, a medical condition or an impairment that may affect your driving.
You can contact the DVLA regarding medical conditions at:
Drivers Medical Enquiries
Telephone: 0300 790 6806
Fax: 0845 850 0095
Lines open: Monday to Friday, 8am to 5:30pm
Saturday, 8am to 1pm
Write to:
Drivers Medical Enquiries
DVLA
Swansea
SA99 1TU
If you hold a current driving licence and have a ‘notifi able’ medical condition or disability, you must tell the DVLA right away. You should not wait until your licence is due for renewal.

You must also tell the DVLA if your medical condition or disability has become worse since your licence was issued or if you develop a new medical condition or disability.

‘Notifiable’ medical conditions and disabilities include epilepsy, strokes and other neurological conditions, mental health problems, physical disabilities and visual impairments.

For a list of ‘notifiable’ conditions as defined by the DVLA you can view https://www.gov.uk/health-conditions-and-driving
The medical standards of fitness to drive are available to all medical practitioners. If your doctor, in accordance with these standards, has advised you that you should not drive you may wish to surrender your licence.
If you have Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease or Huntington’s Disease you must
complete a questionnaire form CN1. If you have Parkinson’s disease you must complete
form PK1. Both these forms will allow the government medical adviser to contact your
doctor and assess your capacity to drive. The forms are available from your doctor’s surgery
or online at

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/DriverLicensing/MedicalRulesForDrivers/DG_10010623

 

22. What happens when I contact the DVLA – will my licence be taken away?

The DVLA aim to make a decision within three weeks. However, this could be longer if they need to contact your GP or ask you to undergo further assessments. The DVLA advise that you check with your GP to see if you can continue driving whilst you are waiting for the decision.
Once your medical disability or condition has been assessed by the DVLA you will be informed if you can keep your licence, require a new one, adapt your vehicle or discontinue driving.

You can be granted a shorter licence of 1, 2, or 3 years which will be reviewed at the end of the allotted time.
If it is decided that you can no longer drive you’ll be given a medical reason why you must stop driving and be told if and when you can reapply for your licence. You’ll also be sent a notice that explains your right to appeal against the decision.

 

23. What is the Motability scheme and am I eligible for it?

The Motability Scheme is organised by Motability, a charity that aims to provide financial support for mobility issues.
It can help with the lease or purchase of an adapted car or other vehicle.

You are eligible for the scheme if you receive either the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance (HRMC DLA), the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (ERMC PIP), the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS) or the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP).
Contact the Motability Scheme on 0300 456 4566 or via their website at http://www.motability.co.uk/

 

24. Where is the nearest regional driving assessment centre?

Regional Driving Assessment Centres give practical and independent advice and assessment to disabled drivers and passengers.
The staff there will assess your ability to drive, advise you about vehicles that might suit you and about any adaptations you may need.
They are well informed on motoring and disability issues generally. Talk to them about any mobility problems you have.

A standard driver assessment costs £80 or may be free through the Motability Scheme (See Q24 for details).

The nearest centre for Somerset is:
The Vassall Centre
Gill Avenue
Fishponds
Bristol
BS16 2QQ
Telephone: 0117 965 9353
E-mail: mobserv@thisisliving.org.uk
www.thisisliving.org.uk

 

25. How do I buy an adapted vehicle?

Firstly, it is best to get advice from your nearest Regional Driving Assessment Centre (see question above). You may also find the Research Institute for Consumer Affairs (Rica) website helpful – www.rica.org.uk
If you are buying your vehicle under the Motability scheme (question 23), you may find the dealer nearest to you on their website.
Go to http://motability.directenquiries.com/Motability/fi nddealer.aspx and simply enter your postcode or alternatively you can telephone them on 0845 456 4566.
Motability also produces a very useful booklet ‘Choosing Your Car’ available for download from www.motabilitycarscheme.co.uk even if you are not buying your car through their scheme this booklet is full of very useful facts, tips and suggestions.

 

26. Is there any financial help towards buying an adapted vehicle?

The Motability Scheme can help you with leasing or buying a car if you’re getting the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or enhanced PIP. Motability offers a wide selection of vehicles for no more than the cost of your weekly mobility allowance. They have around 250 cars available with no advance payment.
Other financial help may be available from local branches of national charitable organisations.
View the directory in Appendix A for details.

 

27. How can I choose the best type of mobility scooter? Where do I get one from?

Scooters and buggies are not available through the Wheelchair Service, which means that potential users will need to purchase them privately and there are a huge range of suppliers. It is therefore very important to get as much independent advice as possible about the range of scooters and buggies available.
Comprehensive advice is available for free from the Disabled Living Foundation (DLF). They can be contacted on the details below or they run a helpline open weekdays 10am – 4pm on 0300 999 0004 or e-mail helpline@dlf.org.uk
www.dlf.org.uk
Disabled Living Foundation,
Ground Floor,
Landmark House,
Hammersmith Bridge Road,
London
W6 9EJ
Telephone: 0207 289 6111
(9am – 5pm, Mon – Fri)
E-mail: info@dlf.org.uk
The DLF also has a website – livingmadeeasy.org.uk – which has a wide range of information about all aspects of equipment for daily living.
Visit – http://www.livingmadeeasy.org.uk/scenario.php?csid=386 – for useful advice and information about choosing a mobility scooter.
Assistance with funding may be possible from various charitable bodies. They can also be purchased through Motability by offsetting some or all of your Disability Living Allowance/PIP.

 

28. Do local buses take wheelchairs and/or mobility scooters?

Wheelchairs can be accommodated on most modern local buses but this may not be the case for mobility scooters. To check whether the buses on your local route are suitable for wheelchairs contact Somerset County Council’s Transport department on:
Transporting Somerset
PPC302, Somerset County Council,
County Hall,
Taunton,
Somerset
TA1 4DY
Telephone: 0845 345 9155
Email: transport@somerset.gov.uk
Opening Hours: Weekdays, 8am to 6pm,
Saturday 9am to 4pm, Closed Sunday.
Some bus operators are now allowing mobility scooters on low-floor buses adapted to carry wheelchairs. To use this service you will need
to obtain a permit. Firstgroup which operates some services in Somerset require passengers to be assessed both on the type of scooter and
their ability to control it. If they are satisfied that they meet the requirements a permit will be granted. To speak to an advisor and arrange
an assessment contact 01173 736671
or write to
First
Enterprise House,
Easton Road,
Bristol
BS5 0DZ
First also provide ‘Safe Journey Cards’ and ‘Better Journey Cards’ which passengers can show the driver which advises the driver that the passenger has a particular problem.
The cards can be downloaded from the First website: http://www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/bristol_bath/bus_access/safe_journey_card/
Shop mobility schemes exist to provide wheelchairs and/or scooters for use in shopping centres in the following Somerset towns. It is advisable to telephone in advance for information and availability etc.
Taunton 01823 327900
Yeovil 01935 475914
Weston-super-Mare 01934 420410
Street (Clarks Village) 01458 440155
Bridgwater 01278 434254

 

29. How do I get a powered wheelchair?

Please see question 14. Powered wheelchairs may be provided by the NHS Wheelchair Service after assessment of your needs. You may be
eligible for help with buying one through their Voucher Scheme.
Rica offer extensive information about the range of powered wheelchairs available http://www.rica.org.uk/content/scooterpowered-wheelchair-search

30. Where can I get a hoist to put my wheelchair in the boot of the car?

If you are unable to lift your wheelchair into a car or if you have a heavy scooter or wheelchair, there are various types of
equipment to help get it in the car:
• hoists which lift a manual or powered wheelchair into the boot of a vehicle
• rooftop hoists which winch a manual wheelchair up and on to the roof of a car
• racks which carry a wheelchair on the back of a car
• trailers and ramps.
Whatever type of equipment you want, it is worth talking to a Regional Driving Assessment Centre (see question 24 for contact information) about how the various alternatives available may suit you.
Hoists are usually installed by vehicle adaptation fi rms or by their local dealers. The suppliers listed on the Rica website – www.rica.org.uk/motoringservices – should be able to tell you about fitting agents and provide details of local dealers.

31. Which taxi firms provide a service for wheelchair users?

The Accessible Countryside for Everyone (ACE) website –http://www.accessiblecountryside.org.uk/southwest/somerset/somerset_taxis.html – provides a list of taxi/private
hire companies who claim to offer wheelchair
friendly vehicles (see Appendix F).

Taxi firms are regulated by local councils; you should be able to get information about which ones accept wheelchairs by calling your local council licensing department on:
Mendip District Council
0300 303 8588
Sedgemoor District Council
0845 408 2540
South Somerset District Council
01935 462462
Taunton Deane Borough Council
01823 356356
West Somerset District Council
01634 703704

 

32. Am I eligible for a disabled person’s railcard? How do I get one?

You are eligible for a disabled railcard if you:
• Are registered as having a visual impairment
• Are registered as deaf or using a hearing aid
• Have epilepsy and either:
• Have repeated attacks even though you receive drug treatment; or
• Are currently prohibited from driving because of your epilepsy
• Receive Attendance Allowance
• Receive Personal Independence payments
• Receive Disability Living Allowance (low or high rate mobility or middle/high rate personal care)
• Receive Severe Disablement Allowance
• Receive War Pensioner’s mobility supplement
• Receive War or Service Disablement Pension for 80% or more disability
• Are buying or leasing a vehicle through Motability Scheme
You can apply for a railcard online at http://www.disabledpersons-railcard.co.uk/buy-a-railcard or telephone 0345 605 0525
or
Disabled Persons Railcard Office
PO Box 11631
Laurencekirk
AB30 9AA
If you have difficulty with walking and need assistance at the railway station, it is possible to pre-book assistance with the relevant
railway company (e.g. First Great Western).

 

33. Am I eligible for free or subsidised bus travel?

Anyone in England who is ‘eligible disabled’ can receive a free bus pass for travelling on journeys between 9am and 11pm weekdays and all day weekends and public holidays.
You are ‘eligible disabled’:
• if you are blind or partially sighted
• if you are profoundly or severely deaf
• if you are without speech
• if you have a disability, or have suffered an injury, which has a substantial and longterm adverse effect on your ability to walk
• if you do not have arms or have long-term loss of the use of both arms
• if you have a learning disability or
• if you have applied for the grant of a licence to drive a motor vehicle under Part III of the Road Traffi c Act 1988, but your application was turned down because of section 92 of the Act (physical fitness) but not if it was because of persistent misuse of drugs or alcohol

You need to apply for the pass through
Somerset County Council at:
Transporting Somerset
PPC302, Somerset County Council,
County Hall,
Taunton,
Somerset
TA1 4DY
Telephone: 0845 345 9155
Or you can download an application form at:
http://www.somerset.gov.uk/roadsparking-and-transport/public-transport/apply-for-a-concessionary-bus-pass/
You will need to return the completed forms with relevant documents and a passport sized photo. The pass should be sent to you within 10
working days.

 

34. Is there any financial help available for me to get to work?

Access to Work might pay towards the cost of getting to work if you cannot use public transport. You may be eligible for help if you
are:
• in a paid job
• unemployed and about to start a job
• unemployed and about to start a Work Trial
• self-employed
Your disability or health condition stops you from being able to do parts of your job.
Your disability or health condition may not have a big effect on what you do each day, but may have a long-term effect on how well you can do your job.
Contact Access to Work at:
Telephone: 0345 268 8489
Textphone: 0345 608 8753
Email: atwosu.london@jobcentreplus.gsi.gov.uk
Alternatively, ask the Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) at your local Job Centre about Access to Work.

 

35. Am I eligible for a Blue Badge and how do I apply for one?

The Blue Badge scheme is designed to give eligible people the ability to park close to the facilities and services they need to use, so as to improve their lifestyle, independence and freedom of choice. You can get a badge without further assessment if you:
• receive the higher rate of the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance
• receive a Personal Independence Payment for being unable to walk further than 50 metres (a score of 8 points or more under the ‘moving around’ activity of the mobility component)
• are registered blind (severely sight impaired)
• receive the War Pensioner’s mobility supplement
• are a severely disabled service person or veteran who is compensated under the new Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS)
• have received a lump sum benefit within tariff levels 1-8 of the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation) Scheme
and has been certified as having a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking

You can get a badge following an assessment if you:
• have a permanent disability that means you can’t walk or have considerable difficulty walking
• have a severe disability in both your upper limbs, you regularly drive a motor vehicle and that you are unable to operate, or have considerable difficulty operating, all or some types of on-street parking equipment
• are a child under the age of 3 who needs medical equipment with you at all times that cannot easily be transported, or if you are affected by unstable medical conditions and may require emergency treatment
To find out if you can have a Blue Badge, phone Somerset Direct on 0845 345 9133 or check online at: https://www.gov.uk/applyblue-badge
If you phone Somerset Direct, the person who takes your call will ask you for some information and will be able to tell you if you
can have a Blue Badge. They will be able to make the application for you straight away so you will not have to fi ll in a form. They will write
to you explaining what to do next. You will be asked to send a photograph for the back of your badge.
They will also tell you if you cannot have a badge and explain why.

 

36. Are there any other transport schemes in the county which may be able to help me?

There are a wide range of community and accessible transport services within Somerset.
Transport is provided for community groups and people whose needs are not met by normal public transport.
Somerset County Council fund the SLINKY service which provides door-to-door services for those with difficulty accessing normal public transport or their own transport.
There are also various other community schemes where volunteers provide transportation assistance.
For more information contact:
Transporting Somerset
PPC302, Somerset County Council,
County Hall,
Taunton,
Somerset
TA1 4DY
Telephone: 0845 345 9155
Email: transport@somerset.gov.uk
Opening Hours: Weekdays, 8am to 6pm,
Saturday 9am to 4pm, Closed Sunday.

37. It is difficult for me to get to hospital appointments, and the public transport is inaccessible/unavailable in my area. Am I eligible for transport to appointments? If so, how do I arrange this?

Please see question 36 for community transport options.
If you have a medical need and want to check if you are entitled to NHS free hospital transport please phone the NHS Patient Transport Advice Centre on 01278 727444 between 9.30am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday or email transport@somerset.nhs.uk.