Transport and travel

Public Transport 

Accessible public transport is available in Sydney. Accessible buses run on most routes, and many train stations and ferry wharves are wheelchair accessible. For timetables and other public transport information visit the Transport Infoline or phone 131 500. To view the location of stations and wharves download our Google Earth overlay.


Community Transport

Community Transport, a HACC service, provides transport for people with disabilities to assist them with shopping, appointments and social activities. For providers in NSW contact the Community Transport Organisation or phone (02) 9635 8980. 


Assistance with Transport Costs

There are a number of benefits you can claim to help with transport costs.


Driving and Vehicle Modifications

Read about how and where to go to get your vehicle modified and what is involved in getting your licence to drive a modified vehicle. Read more...


Parking in Australia and Overseas 

Links to state and territory disability parking schemes are available here.

Travelling overseas

If you are travelling to the United States requirements for disabled parking permits for visiting overseas motorists will vary from state to state. Many of the websites of individual state Departments of Motor Vehicles provide information and/or application forms for a disabled parking permit. You may also check with your car hire company or contact a state travel/tourism office.

People travelling overseas to other countries who are planning to use a motor vehicle are advised to seek a letter of authority, in both English and the language of the country, from the Embassies in Australia of each country you are planning to visit. The letter would be displayed alongside your current Australian MPA in the windscreen. A word of warning though - SCInfo has been informed that it has become increasingly difficult to obtain these letters from the Embassies. Some have been reluctant and have required some persuasion; some have totally refused.


Hiring an accessible vehicle

  • AAB - Access All Bus Rentals - Accessible bus rental. Vehicle can be configured for up to six wheelchair seated passengers. The bus can be delivered anywhere in Australia.
  • Automobility - Accessible vehicles are available for hire across Australia. 
  • Disability Hire Vehicles - Based in Sydney, the vehicles are available for hire anywhere in Australia.
  • Europcar - have a Kia Grand Carnival wheelchair accessible vehicle for hire. Call Europcar to find out the details or complete the online booking form. 
  • GoGet - Australia's first and largest carshare provider have an accessible car for hire at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney. The vehicle, an eight-seater, Kia Carnival, is equipped with a single wheelchair rear entry with hydraulic floor and can accommodate a wide range of wheelchairs.
  • Freedom Motors Australia - Pick up and return from St Marys (40km from Sydney CBD), NSW.
  • Hertz - Ten wheelchair accessible vehicles available for hire from Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and the Gold Coast. The five door vehicles provide access for people using mobility aids via the rear door and seats five other ambulant passengers.
  • Hire Mobility - Based in Western Australia: ph: 08 9309 3011; 0418 913 180
  • Uber - A wheelchair accessible trial is launching soon in Newcastle, NSW. To opt in and be the first to hear about the launch date download the Uber app at www.uber.com/app, create a free Uber account and enter the code AUSWAV in the payment section of the menu.
  • Wheelaway - Wheelaway Vehicles are available for hire anywhere in Australia. 
  • Wheelies Van Rentals - Wheelchair accessible car hire - Locations in Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart

Hiring cars with hand controls

Avis and Budget have hand controls that can be fitted to cars. Advanced bookings are required and bookings can be made via regular booking services.

Disability Hire Vehicles also have hand controls that can be fitted to cars. For details call 02 4577 2225 or visit www.disabilityhire.com.au


Further reading and discussion

Visit SCIA's SCI Resources Library - Transport to find publications, articles and more.


Accessible Travel and Travel Accommodation

Travel Agents, Tour Operators and Organisations specialising in disability travel and accommodation

To help you plan your holiday here are some travel agents and tour operators specialising in disability travel.

Australia

Time Fly's Travel, Sydney - http://timeflystravel.com.au/ have extensive experience in assisting people with physical disablity. Watch Trudy Rice talk about Time Fly's Travel and disability travel issues at our Independence Expo held in March 2012.

South Africa

Epic Enabled are a tour operator who specialise in accessible travel throughout South Africa. - http://www.epic-enabled.com/. 


Flying and Airline assistance

All airlines have information on what services and assistance they provide to people travelling with a disability.

Also visit the Civil Aviation Safety Authority for information on what air travellers with a disability can do to ensure safety and comfort.

Incontinence and Flying

A very useful article on continence issues to think about when flying.

Travel Insurance

There are insurance companies that provide travel insurance when traveling with a spinal cord injury. Visit our Financial and Legal page for details. 

Disconnecting wheelchair battery terminals when flying

The disconnection of the cables from the battery terminals is required by the airlines as a safety precaution to prevent any short circuit in transit, which could cause a fire. Another reason is they fear that the chair might be started accidentally also causing a fire hazard.

The various airlines have different policies and procedures depending on the type of batteries e.g. sealed gel batteries, lead acid batteries etc. It would be a good idea to inform the airline of the type of batteries your wheelchair has and ask what is required to be done and who is to do it. Some airlines will only assist with direct instructions from the wheelchair owner or his or her acquaintance - the onus is on the wheelchair user to understand how to access the batteries to disconnect and reconnect the cables.

Virgin Australia provides comprehensive information on its procedures for wheelchair and scooter batteries.  

In the Qantas travel information for passengers with a disability it explains that the batteries may need to be disconnected. Further information on procedures for wheelchair and scooter batteries can be obtained by calling Qantas on 131 313.  

Further Reading and Discussion

The SCI Resources Library has more information about flying with a disability. Click here to generate a list of resources.


Sources to find Accessible Travel Accommodation

It is always a good idea to contact the accommodation prior to booking and speak to someone who knows the features of the accessible accommodation and other facilities such as the reception area, restaurant, parking so that you can be sure your needs will be met.

Australia

  • RollAwayz - Spinal Cord Injuries Australia has found wheelchair accessible travel and tourism accommodation in hotels, resorts, motels, backpacker hostels and bed and breakfasts across Australia to add to RollAwayz - SCIA's database of accessible travel accommodation. To search or browse RollAwayz please go here.
  • Coffs Harbour Beach House - SCIA have a Beach House which is located in Coffs Harbour in Northern NSW and is a fully accessible house available to people with a spinal cord injury or other physical disability for holidays, respite and short-term accommodation. The house comprises 3 double bedrooms all with ensuite facilities, an accessible kitchen with all of the standard features that are perfect for self-catering, a communal living and dining area and safe and secure outdoor space complete with a gas BBQ. For details and to book your holiday, please visit SCIA's Accommodation page.
  • Tourism NSW has a searchable database of accommodation.
  • Tourism Queensland has a searchable database of accessible accommodation. 
  • The South Australian Tourism Commission has a searchable database of accessible accommodation. 
  • Accessing Melbourne: An access guide to the City of Melbourne for visitors with mobility impairments. (see Part 4 – Accommodation). 
  • Tourism Victoria has a searchable accommodation database. Use the Advanced search option to search for disabled access facilities. 
  • Tourism Western Australia – see Accommodation search.
  • Can Go Anywhere - listings of accessible destinations, services and activities.
  • Sydney for all - Accessible activities and attractions.
  • Trivago - Search for location then click on "Extra filters" to filter your search results to display accessible accommodation.
  • SCIA keeps a look out for stories from travellers and their experiences of traveling to accessible destinations - you can read them here - travel stories.

Accessible holiday accommodation and accessible activities around the World

  • Accessible Europe - A pool of European travel agents expert in accessible tourism services for people with special needs.
  • Accomobility NZ - Find detailed and centralised information and accessible facilities provided at accommodation establishments throughout New Zealand. 
  • Brettapproved - US based website aiming to be a comprehensive resource for travelers with disabilities.
  • CareCure Forums (US based) – See discussion on Recreation, Sports, Travel, & Hobbies.
  • Matching Houses - Holiday house exchange where people with disabilities swap houses with other people who have the same accessibility needs.
  • WEKA Disability Information - Travel information - NZ focused but also has international resources.
  • Wheel the World - Comprehensive lists of organisations specialising in travel and accessible accommodation.
  • Yes4Access - wheelchair accessible travel guide - mainly United Kingdom with a few listings from France, Spain, Greece and Switzerland. 
  • AccessNow - Uses crowdsourcing to pin-point the accessibility status of locations on an interactive map. You can search for specific places or browse to see what is nearby with the accessibility features you need.
  • Travabled.com - An online community and travel adviser for people with disabilities and their companions with trusted advice from firsthand travelers that have been on the spot and gathered information, offering variety of travel choices, planning features and links to booking tools. You can also mark the locations you have visited with your wheelchair, scooter or power wheelchair and participate in creating a community of barrier-free locations across the globe.
  • LonelyPlanet - Travellers with disabilities forum.
  • SCIA keeps a look out for stories from travellers and their experiences of traveling to accessible destinations - you can read them here - travel stories.

Further reading and discussion

Visit SCIA's SCI Resources library - Travel and Travel Accommodation to find publications, articles, access guides and more.


For further information on this or any other topic please call SCIA by phone on 1800 819 775 or email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or visit the SCIA Library.

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