travel – tips and info for young people

Being able to travel by yourself can open up a lot of possibilities, but it can be difficult to know where to start.

We’ve put together some helpful tips and advice, and let you know where you can find more resources.

Tell me about travelling by…

Getting the bus

learn how to travel by bus

person reading sheet of paper

Easy read guide

Check out this Easy Read guide to catching the bus [pdf 370kb] for some helpful tips and advice or watch the video above.

red bus

Independent Travel Training

Independent Travel Training is interactive training for people with learning disabilities that helps you learn how to travel around where you live by yourself, and lets you practice.

3d computer graphics showing a person stood near a parked bus in a city settingVirtual bus 360

Brighton & Hove Buses have created a tool so you can learn all about using buses in the city.

There are three virtual buses you can explore, and a series of short videos about travelling by bus. The videos include British Sign Language.

Check out VirtualBus 360.

before you travel

person using computerPlan your journey

Journey planners are websites and apps where you can look up how to get somewhere by bus. They can tell you:

  • which bus stop to use
  • what number bus to get
  • what time the bus will leave
  • when it will arrive at your destination.

Most journey planners will tell you about trains as well as buses so you know all your options.

Remember: Sometimes there is more than one place with the same name, so make sure you have the right one! Put the address, including the postcode if you can

Some journey planners you could try are:

  • Traveline South East website – This website has some useful options for people with disabilities, for example you can look for routes without any steps, or without much walking. There is also an app version.
  • Google maps – You can use the website or get the app on your phone. Use the “directions” feature, and then choose how you want to travel from the options at the top. Android app | Apple app
  • UK Bus Checker – This app has a journey planner and also has a “Stop Alert” feature which can let you know when it’s nearly time to get off the bus.

Cheaper tickets and free bus passes

bus passFree bus passes

If you have a learning disability or another kind of disability, you may be able to get a free bus pass from your council: Brighton & HoveEast Sussex

Sometimes you can get a free bus pass to help you get to school or college. Find out more: Brighton & HoveEast Sussex

ticketCheap tickets and special deals

Some schemes offer cheaper tickets or special deals for young people or people with disabilities.

Brighton & Hove:

  • If you have a Compass Card you can get a key card and photo ID that lets you get cheaper tickets on Brighton & Hove buses. Find out more.
  • If you are under 19 you can get a bus-ID card, which lets you buy cheaper tickets.
  • If you are a student you can get cheaper tickets with your student ID card. Find out more.

East Sussex:

  • If you are under 19 you can get a 3i-d card that lets you buy a Freedom ticket for £17. This gives you unlimited travel on most buses in East Sussex for a week. If you are under 16 you can also use your 3i-d card to prove your age so you can get child prices, which are cheaper than adult prices.

a 'helping hand' on the bus

Helping Hand card, in bright yellow with bold black text, with fields for your name, and an emergency contact number.“Helping Hands” cards

Brighton & Hove Buses’ offer a free “Helping Hands” card, so you can let the driver know your needs without having to say it out loud. The card has a short instruction on it, for example:

  • Please face me I lip read
  • Please wait until seated
  • Priority seating required
  • Please call out my stop

The back of the card has space for you to put your name and a number you would want them to call in an emergency, for example a parent or carer.

You can use the card on buses in Brighton & Hove and East Sussex.

Find out more or apply for a card here: Brighton & Hove Buses

Feeling safe on the bus

Read this Easy Read fact sheet about what to do if you feel worried on the bus: Feeling safe on the bus [pdf 220kb]

Getting the train

learn how to travel by train

person reading sheet of paper

How-to guides

This simple guide from WikiHow shows you how to catch a train.

This guide for students from The Student Room has more detailed advice on travelling by train.

train Independent Travel Training

Independent Travel Training is interactive training for people with learning disabilities that helps you learn how to travel around where you live by yourself, and lets you practice.

  • Independent travel training in East Sussex
  • There is no travel training specifically for trains in Brighton & Hove at the moment. Grace Eyre’s travel training in Brighton & Hove is currently mostly focussed around buses.

before you travel

person using computer Plan your journey

Journey planners are websites and apps where you can look up how to get somewhere by public transport. They will tell you:

  • which trains you could catch
  • what time the train will leave
  • when it will arrive at your destination
  • if you will need to travel on more than one train

Some journey planners are just for trains, and some will tell you about buses as well as trains. Some journey planners will let you buy your ticket online as well.

Some journey planners you could try are:

You can use National Rail’s Access Map to look up accessibility information about a railway station, like whether there is step-free access, or wheelchairs available.

ticket officeBuy a ticket

There are several different ways to buy a train ticket:

  • Ticket office – Many train stations have ticket offices, but not all of them, and they are only open at certain times of day
  • Ticket machines – Most train stations have self-service ticket machines
  • Internet – You can buy your ticket online before you travel

For long journeys, buying a ticket in advance is usually cheaper than buying a ticket the day you travel.

You can also buy a ticket from the guard on the train if you can’t get a ticket before you get on the train, for example if the ticket machine is broken and there is no ticket office. You should always buy a ticket before getting on the train if this is possible, or you may be charged a fine. This could be a lot of money.

hands coming together in a heartBook assistance (if you need it)

If you need a helping hand when you travel, you can book support by calling Passenger Assist free on 0800 0223720. Try to call at least 24 hours before you travel.

railcards and tickets

ticketTypes of tickets

  • A single is a ticket that lets you travel to one place.
  • A return is a ticket that lets you go somewhere, and come back.

Some other useful things to know about the kinds of ticket you can buy:

  • If you are 15 or under you can get half price tickets. If you look like you might be older than that it’s a good idea to bring ID to prove your age.
  • Some types of ticket must be booked for a specific train that leaves at a specific time, or have to be used the same day you bought it. Other tickets are more flexible.
  • Off-peak tickets are cheaper tickets you can only use at certain times of day when the trains will be less busy. Anytime tickets can be used any time!
  • First class tickets are very expensive tickets that let you travel in a different part of the train carriage. Be careful not to buy these by mistake as they can be a lot of money!

photo cardRailcards

Railcards are cards that let you buy cheaper train tickets. You must carry your railcard with you when you travel by train. There are a few different kinds of railcard, including:

Disabled Person’s Railcard

You can get this railcard if you get certain disability benefits, or if you have a visual or hearing impairment or have epilepsy. The card gives you 1/3 off adult train tickets. If you’re travelling with someone (aged 16+), they get 1/3 off their tickets too.

16-25 Railcard

You can get this railcard if you are aged 16-25. The card gives you 1/3 off most adult train tickets.

Two Together Railcard

You can get this railcard if you are over 16 years old and have someone you travel with a lot, like a friend or carer. The card gives both of you 1/3 off the price of your train journeys when you travel together after 10am.

help and support while you travel

hands coming together in a heartHelping hand

If you need a helping hand when you travel, you can book support by calling Passenger Assist free on 0800 0223720. Try to call at least 24 hours before you travel.

Travel support card: I travel from [blank] and to [blank] My home station is [blank]Travel support card

If you might have difficulty asking for help for any reason, it can help to bring a free travel support card.

Your card can include details about:

  • your journey
  • who to contact in an emergency
  • anything else you need help with

You can get a travel support card with pictures to help you ask for what you need.

Blue sign saying "priority seat for people who are disabled, pregnant or less able to stand"Priority seats and wheelchair spaces

Trains have spaces for wheelchair users, and priority seats for people who have difficulty standing on a train for any reason. These are near the doors and marked with a sign.

If someone is using a priority seat and you need to use it, politely ask if you could use the seat. You can apply for a free priority seat card to show that you need the seat if you want. Remember, not all disabilities and needs are visible, so the person in the seat might need it too.

staying safe

Orange triangle with exclamation markStaying safe

This wikihow article has some good tips on how to be safe around trains.

This article is about trains in Europe. There are some differences between countries. For example, we don’t have platform doors in the UK, and it’s safe to move between train carriages while the train is moving if you need to.


  • Stay behind the yellow lines on the ground
  • Never go on the train tracks
  • Be careful of the gap when you get on and off the train – some platforms have bigger gaps than others
  • Keep your things close where thieves can’t easily get at them. If you put your bag on the luggage rack on the train, make sure you keep an eye on it.
  • Keep your ticket safe in your purse or wallet so you can’t lose it!


Motability cars for disabled people


The Motability scheme helps people on disability benefits to lease a car, mobility scooter or powered wheelchair. The car can be for you to drive, or for someone else to drive you places, like a parent or carer.

To use the scheme, you must receive the higher or enhanced rate of the mobility component of either Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

If you choose to use the scheme to lease a car, the cost will be taken out of your DLA or PIP. The payment is taken out before you receive your benefits, you don’t have to do anything.

You choose your car, and the scheme arranges things like insurance, breakdown assistance, servicing and maintenance. This is all included in the price. They can also arrange for adaptations

All you have to pay for separately is petrol.

Blue Badge parking placard

disabled symbolBlue Badge scheme

The Blue Badge scheme is for people with disabilities that significantly affect their ability to walk to where they’re going. This might be because of physical problems, or for other reasons like mental health difficulties, autism, or blindness.

You can use a Blue Badge as a driver or as a passenger. You don’t need to drive or own your own car.

disabled parking bayIf you have a Blue Badge placard you are allowed to park some places that other people can’t, like disabled parking bays. This is so you can park closer to where you’re going. Often you don’t have to pay parking costs, too.

Apply for a Blue Badge online.

If you would rather fill out a paper form and post it, your council’s website will tell you where you can get a paper form: Brighton & Hove – East Sussex

learning to drive


If you have special educational needs or disabilities and want to learn to drive, you can find lots of useful information on the Driving Mobility website. They have centres that can offer you advice and information too.

You must tell the DVLA about your medical conditions and disabilities, so they can assess whether it is safe for you to drive. If you aren’t sure whether you will be able to drive due to your disability, you can go for an assessment to see whether this is the case, and whethere there are adaptations that could help.

There are lots of different adaptations you can get for your car to make it more accessible to you. Some driving tutors have adapted cars. There are also some accommodations that can be made to enable you to take the theory test, or you may be entitled to extra time on your practical test.



Taxis are handy because they can pick you up from wherever you are and take you directly to where you want to go. They can be much more expensive than other ways to travel, though.

There are two different kinds of taxis:

White and aqua Brighton taxi

Photo by Mic (CC BY 2.0)

Hackney carriages are the taxis that you see at taxi ranks. You can book these taxis in advance, get in them at a taxi rank, or hail them on the street.

These taxis will all be painted the same colours, for example in Brighton & Hove they are white and aqua, and in Eastbourne they are white.

They will have a sign on top of the car saying “taxi”.

silver vehicle with taxi number on the sideThere are also taxis called private hire vehicles. You can book these taxis in advance, for example over the phone or through an app. You cannot find them at taxi ranks or stop them on the street.

All taxis must have their taxi license number on a plate on the back of the car (in addition to the normal number plate on the back of a car). They must also have the driver’s taxi licence on display inside the car.

Some safety tips:

  • If you can’t see the licence plate on the back of the car, or there is no licence on display in the car, don’t get in
  • When you book a taxi, you give them your name. When the taxi arrives ask them for the name of the person they’re picking up, to check it’s the taxi you booked.
  • Sit in the back of the taxi, not the passenger seat
  • Don’t hail taxis in the street, always book your taxi, or find a taxi rank

Did you know?

  • If you need a wheelchair accessible taxi, it’s a good idea to call and book one in advance. Your council keeps a list of wheelchair accessible taxis: Brighton & HoveEast Sussex
  • Taxis are not allowed to charge you more for having a wheelchair, or an assistance dog
  • Taxis are not allowed to refuse to drive you if you have a service dog, unless they have  a “Notice of Exemption”, which must be displayed on their windscreen

community transport

minibusCommunity transport

Community transport is for older or disabled people who find it difficult or impossible to get on and off buses, or to get to the bus stop. They can also help if there is no public transport nearby you can use.

You can book travel on an accessible vehicle to get to the shops, or your job, or wherever you need to go.

Find out more and book a journey: Brighton & HoveEast Sussex

Wheelchair or walking

Shopmobility wheelchairs and scooters

Shopmobility wheelchair hire

Shopmobility offers low-cost wheelchairs and mobility scooters for hire in many towns and cities.

You can book them for a day out or shopping trip. It’s usually best to call and book in advance and let them know your needs.

Find a Shopmobility scheme near you

staying safe

Safety tips

If you walk or use a wheelchair to get around, here are some top tips to help you stay safe:

  • always take care crossing roads, and use pedestrian crossings whenever possible
  • pay attention to what’s going on around you
  • if it’s late or an area that might not be very safe, don’t travel alone
  • keep expensive items like phones and wallets hidden in a pocket or bag as much as possible
  • don’t tell strangers personal information like your full name, telephone number, or where you live


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