South London Community transport

Overview

London has a range of transport services which enable older people and those with mobility impairments to remain connected with their community. 

Some London residents are eligible for the Dial-a-Ride service (door-to-door transport), whilst many of the 32 wards have community transport schemes which often rely on volunteers. 

Key tips

It is important to plan your use of community transport in advance. Services are often run by volunteers and pre-booking is essential. You may wish to consider:

  • Community transport providers are often in high demand, so it is best to book your journey several days in advance if you can.
  • Ring in advance to check a scheme’s eligibility criteria. You normally need to be a resident of the borough and will have to register in advance before travelling. A membership fee sometimes applies, in addition to travel costs.
  • At the time of booking, inform the provider of any accessibility needs you may have and which mobility equipment you intend to travel with. Some buses may only have space for one wheelchair. Some schemes offer a free space for a carer or companion.
  • Some operators offer a discount or are even free with a valid bus pass, so it is worth obtaining one, if you are eligible, even if you never catch a regular bus.
  • Not all dial-a-ride schemes can take you to hospital appointments or day care centres. These appointments can be arranged by your doctor, the hospital, social services, or you may be able to use a community car scheme.

Operators

London Dial-a-Ride

A door-to-door, wheelchair-accessible minibus scheme run by Transport for London (TfL) for London residents with mobility impairments. Services include leisure and shopping trips but are not suitable for medical appointments or work journeys.

The scheme operates 7:00am – 10:00pm, seven days a week. 

Contact: 0343 222 7777 or dar.reservations@tfl.gov.uk

You are eligible to apply for free membership if you are: 

  • over the age of 85
  • on higher rate Attendance Allowance
  • on standard or higher rate mobility aspect of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • on higher rate mobility aspect of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • registered blind or partially sighted
  • a London taxi card member
  • receive a War Pension supplement

If none of the above apply and you have difficulty walking, you can still make an application via your local authority where you may have a mobility assessment.

When applying for membership you will be asked if you use mobility equipment and if you have any special requirements. You will be asked for the make and model of any mobility equipment to check it can be transported. Assistance to help someone from their front door to the vehicle can be provided, if required.

London borough schemes 

Croydon

Voluntary groups in Croydon can provide transport to day centres and medical appointments. For further information, visit the websites below:

Merton

  • Merton Community Transport
    Door-to-door transport in Wimbledon, Mitcham area. Offer a weekly shopping bus to Colliers Wood. Annual membership and fees apply, and bookings must be made 48 hours in advance. Contact: 020 8648 1001

Richmond

  • Hampton & Hampton Hill Voluntary Care
    In partnership with Richmond and Kingston Accessible Transport (RaKAT), Greenwood Community Centre run minibus services for weekly shopping, day centres, community services and weekly excursions. Door-to-door services and assistance can be arranged. Clients must be registered with Hampton & Hampton Hill Voluntary Care or referred. Contact: 0208 979 9662
  • Fish Neighbourhood Care
    Offer door-to-door shopping with accessible minibuses. They can also provide transport for medical appointments. Covers Barnes, Mortlake, and East Sheen. Contact: 0208 876 3336

Sutton

  • Sutton Community Transport    
    Door-to-door shopping trips in accessible minibuses to local supermarkets in Sutton, Beddington Lane and Purley Way.  Membership fees apply. Contact: 0208 6683 3944

Wandsworth

  • Wandsworth Community Transport
    Run a shopping shuttle, in a fully-accessible minibus, for elderly and disabled people in Wandsworth, and Silver Daytripper’s outings for Wandsworth residents who are over 60, more mobile and who can use public transport, in standard minibuses. Contact: 0208 675 7460

Travel costs

Most Community Transport Schemes require an annual membership fee. 

Some providers accept concessionary bus passes as payment for journeys. 

Others can only provide discounted transport for passengers with a bus pass and ask for a set fee per journey. 

Special assistance

Please check with your community transport provider as to which assistance they can offer you. Information can be found on the provider’s website or by contacting them by telephone.

Some services provide a care assistant who can help with shopping bags and see you to your door on the return journey.

When booking any community transport in your area, be clear about your mobility and check in advance that the service can accommodate your requirements.

Travelling with mobility equipment

Check with the individual community transport scheme regarding travelling with mobility equipment.

Services vary depending on the type and size of equipment that can be carried, due to space.  

Most minibuses will be able to take wheelchair users and may offer ramp or lift access. Some providers will require the make and model of your wheelchair before you travel, and others will accept mobility scooters.

Disclaimer
Any advice or information given by the Hubs Mobility Advice Service is impartial and correct at the time it is provided. However, as operators may change their services or equipment prior to your journey or booking, you are strongly advised to check any details directly with them shortly before you expect to travel.