A little (of your) help goes a long way

There are many reasons why some people feel anxious when travelling. Some may need more time to get to their seat or for transport staff to notify them when they have reached their destination.

As a transport provider, you can make a big difference by looking out for Thistle Assistance users, offering help and understanding when needed.

Thistle Assistance is part of the Scottish Government’s ambition to have an inclusive and accessible transport system, aiming to improve the journey experience for anyone who requires extra assistance while travelling.

Around 1 in 5 people (20%) in the UK are disabled people.[1]

Many disabled people have more than one impairment.

Here are a few things you can do to help your disabled passengers on their journey.

Try to focus on what assistance your passengers need rather than assuming based on age or appearance.

Be patient, and listen carefully to what your passengers are saying, and if you are not sure that you’ve understood then check and ask them to repeat themselves if needed.

Keep an eye out for any passengers that may be taking longer to board or alight, and give them sufficient time to do so safely. Bear in mind that some passengers with mobility impairments may not stand up to leave until the train or bus has fully stopped.

Be prepared to answer any questions that passengers have during the journey, and to repeat yourself if needed, as some passengers may forget what you have told them or need reassurance that they’ve understood correctly.

Also, make sure you receive Disability Equality Training from your company, ask your manager for it. The Department for Transport (DfT) has made a series of Disability Equality Training videos available on their website. However, face-to-face training developed and delivered by disabled trainers is recommended.


Department for Transport: Transport for All – Access, Rights and Advice, Guidance for frontline bus staff: supporting disabled passengers, May 2021.

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