Many people with dwarfism are able to travel with little assistance, however on some occasions; especially when travelling with scooters and wheelchairs, taking journeys needs planning, preparation and booking in advance.
Below are some examples of the most common forms of transport (other than cars) with information which may be useful when considering travelling via these methods.
Lots of additional information can be found on the Transport for All website.
On most occasions buses now have level access, due to the higher curbs and lack of steps on the bus. On some occasions there will be a gap between the bus and the kerb edge, which can be bridged using the ramp, located on the bus and deployed by the driver.
Many buses also have wheelchair/scooter/disabled spaces near the front, to reduce the need for walking on a moving vehicle. It may be necessary to check with the bus provider that the vehicle can accommodate your mobility scooter/wheelchair.
Bus passes for disabled people can be applied for from your local council website, to find the appropriate website visit Disabled Bus Pass.
Booking in advance may be required, particularly if using a scooter or wheelchair, assistance for this can also be booked to ensure your journey runs as smooth as possible.
When booking in advance, select travel assistance (if possible, 24 hours in advance) and from there you can arrange the assistance you require when travelling. You can also complete this via telephone or email.
The National Rail Enquiries website has all the information on booking assistance when travelling via train.
If travelling from a manned station visit the travel assistance desk on arrival, making them aware of your presence, from then you will assisted throughout your journey. If the station is unmanned but you have booked assistance, go to the disabled entrance doors on the train and the conductor will provide you with the assistance. If you have not booked assistance, it is still possible to request assistance from the train conductor and/or station staff - you must do this at the earliest opportunity when you have arrived at the station.
Assistance facilities for travelling via train include: ramps from the train to the platform, allocated seating for disabled people, station staff accompanying you from the station to the train and train to the station entrance/interconnecting train.
You may require a Disabled Persons Railcard to travel on frequent rail journeys, this reduces the cost of your ticket and also that of an assistant, should one be required.
The Underground can often be extremely busy places and not always fully accessible, planning in advance would be highly beneficial. Currently 70 out of 270 Tube stations are partly step-free, however on some occasion the ones denoted as ‘step-free’ have a large step from the platform to the tube train. There are ramps available at some stations to bridge this gap. In some stations there are also escalators and lifts which can be used to avoid it being necessary to use stairs throughout the station itself.
It is best to do research before planning to determine accessibility, there are a number of resources and maps online to help:
Transport for London has wide number of maps which can be used for planning:
All staff are trained in disability equality, they will assist you regarding any queries you may have with travelling. E.g. ramp access, directions/taking to lifts, assisted seating, calling to subsequent stations to prepare for your arrival.
These blue signs have been placed around the Underground to show access from the platform to the train. (Note: this is the Piccadilly line)
Plane journeys can sometimes involve planning and pre-booked assistance to ensure everything runs smoothly.
If you require assistance; when booking your airline tickets through your ticket provider select the special assistance option (at least 48 hours before travelling) you can then inform the airline of the assistance you require. You can also complete this via telephone or email. On arrival at the airport, visit the special assistance desk to make them aware of your presence, they will then run through your requirements and support you throughout your journey. This will also be organised in the country in which you are travelling to, ensuring you are fully supported throughout.
Assistance facilities include: lift from the concourse to the aircraft, airport staff accompanying you from the airport to the plane and plane to the airport/interconnecting flight.
When booking your tickets, you may wish to consider booking accessible seats, which may make seating easier. On some occasions these are on the front row, however must not be the emergency assistance seats. Call your airline to speak to someone and explain your situation, to be sure.
If you require medication please ensure you speak with your airline provider before booking and travelling, on some occasions it is required that medication is placed in the luggage, and you may also require a doctors certification note.
Information regarding travelling by plane can be found on Tryb4uFly, they allow disabled people or people with reduced mobility to try out seating and transfer options in a ‘real life’ setting before flying, giving you the opportunity to solve a few issues, prior to the flight itself. They also provide equipment for hire during your trip.
Something considered useful for people with dwarfism is the ‘Foot Hammock’ which hangs over the pull down tray and allows your feet to be supported, rather than suspended in the air. Making travelling more comfortable. These can be purchased online.
One key to successful travel is considering the route and planning where necessary.
Google Maps has recently introduced an accessible options settings when working out routes. So far this is only used for 6 cities, however if successful could be 'rolled out' to more cities.