Travel and transport
Macular disease is no barrier to travel. With some planning research, travelling around your local area, throughout the UK and even abroad is possible.
There are many types of rail cards which offer discounted and reduced cost travel. Rail cards include cards for disabled travellers and older people.
- Disabled Person Rail Card - gives a third off the cost of tickets for the railcard holder and one companion. To be entitled to this card you need to be registered as sight impaired (partially sighted) or severely sight impaired (blind)
- Assisted Travel - Visually impaired people can contact the Passenger Assistance Service through National Rail Enquiries on 0800 022 3720. This service supports visually impaired travellers with locating their trains and connections. Book this service at least 24 hours in advance of travel.
- London Underground Staff will assist people with sight loss around their network.
- All train travel in Scotland is free to people who are registered as sight impaired or severely sight impaired.
- Most trains have accessible areas providing more space to travel, so either try to book these or request to be seated in that area. Sometimes these are even in first class!
Buses & Coach Travel
- Local authorities and some national coach services offer discounted travel to people who are registered as sight impaired or severely sight impaired.
- National Bus Pass - England: bus customers who are registered sight impaired or severely sight impaired are entitled to free off-peak travel on local bus services. Some local authorities extend this to 24-hour travel on local bus routes. Similar schemes are available in Wales and Northern Ireland.
- Free bus travel is available in Scotland to people registered as sight impaired or severely sight impaired.
- Companion Pass: depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to support from a family member/friend/carer on the bus.
- In most major cities in the UK any buses you travel on will announce which stop is coming up and which bus route you are on.
- National Express offer a coach card for disabled travellers for £10 per year.
People with macular disease are generally able to fly. However, if you have had an injection or other treatments, it is always worth talking to your clinician before travelling. There is plenty of help when travelling by air if you have a visual impairment. Discuss this with your travel agent or airline before you fly. After requesting assistance from your travel provider, you may be offered the following support:
- Airport Special Assistance Team: after you check in, this team will guide you and your travelling companions through passport control, security and to your gate. This support then continues with assistance on to the plane, either up the steps or on an adapted lift. When you arrive at your destination, a member of the special assistance team or a holiday rep will help you off the plane and through the airport.
- If you have a guide dog, they will be able to travel in the cabin with you; check with the airport quarantine service where your guide dog is allowed to travel under the pet passport scheme. You need to book your guide dog onto the flight with your airline in advance.
When booking a holiday, inform your travel agent that you have macular disease. They will be able to offer information on the support they may be able to provide. This could include hotel rooms on lower floors, support with transfers to your resort and assistance with learning your way around the resort you are staying in.
There are also specialist travel agents that offer tailor made holidays to people with sight loss.
For more information on travel, transport or holidays call the Advice and Information line on 0300 3030 111.