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Want to stay on the right side of the law? We support businesses and public authorities and help them to promote good practice.

Buses or coaches

What you need to know

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Bus and Coach Operators - Avoid disability discrimination

It is against the law for transport service providers such as bus and coach operators to discriminate against disabled people in the way in which they provide or do not provide their services.

All bus and coach operators have duties under disability discrimination law in relation to transport infrastructure such as their buildings, information services and the selling of tickets. They also have duties in relation to the provision and use of the vehicles they provide.

The legislation makes it unlawful for bus and coach operators to refuse or deliberately fail to provide a service to a disabled person. They must also make "reasonable adjustments" to take away or overcome elements in their services which present barriers to disabled people.

What is the Code of Practice

The Equality Commission has produced a Code of Practice on the Provision and Use of Transport Vehicles which explains the law and provides guidance to transport providers, advisors and disabled people on the scope of the Disability Transport Regulations.

As well as complying with the legislation, making services more accessible and marketing them as such is likely to increase an operator´s attractiveness to disabled passengers, who represent around 1 in 5 people in Northern Ireland.



What does the law define as a coach or bus?

The law defines buses and coaches as vehicles which carry more than eight passengers and are used for hire and reward.

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) calls them Public Service Vehicles. This includes vehicles used for local and scheduled services, as well as those used for leisure and tourism purposes. It includes, for example, all public transport buses and coaches used for tours.


Examples of discrimination

Disabled people can encounter unfair treatment in transport in many ways. Here are a few examples of how a disabled person may be discriminated against by a bus or coach operator:


  • A disabled person cannot get on a bus because the driver cannot or will not deploy the ramp.
  • A person with a visual or hearing disability cannot access the services because the timetable and written information is not available in an accessible format, where it is reasonable to do so.
  • When trying to make a telephone enquiry with a tour company a person with a speech impairment is told to hurry up and the telephone operator terminates the call because the person is taking too long
  • A disabled person is charged more than a non disabled person due to the storage of his or her wheelchair or for his or her assistance dog.
  • A blind person with a white stick misses his or her bus because the driver, despite noticing their white stick, does not tell the passenger the destination of the bus.

The Law

A copy of the Government’s legislation can be viewed online:
Advice and Guidance for Transport Service Providers
The Equality Commission provides information and advice on the duties on transport providers and rights for disabled transport service users.  For more information please contact us on 028 90500600 or email us

Training sessions can be provided, on request, for group bookings, subject to sufficient numbers and feasibility. For further information, please email

The Inclusive Mobility and Transport Advisory Committee (IMTAC)
IMTAC is a committee of disabled people, older people and key transport professionals who advise the Government and organisations in Northern Ireland on issues that affect the mobility of older people and disabled people. Further information is available at


Publications for Transport Service Providers
The Equality Commission´s Code of Practice on the Provision and Use of Transport Vehicles, provides guidance for transport providers, advisors and disabled people on the scope of the regulations.

Disability Transport Code of Practice

 Code of Practice - Provision and use of transport vehicles
 (PDF 225Kb, 72pages)

  The Code is also available in:

  - Braille
  - Large print
  - Easyread 
  - Audio versions

Short Guides
A series of short guides for transport service providers is also available:



To request copies of any of the above publications, or if you would like them in a different format such as braille contact us at or telephone 028 90500600

The Law
Download a copy of the legislation (PDF, 52kb):



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