Bus Éireann - catering for people with disabilities
Bus Éireann is committed to the provision of a fully accessible public transport system incorporating fully accessible vehicles and infrastructure.
All vehicles operating on Bus Éireann scheduled services, have a suspension lowering feature that can be used to assist when boarding the vehicle, have entrance areas that are fitted with grab rails that contrast with the background colour, have stop request buttons fitted, Public Address systems and Destination Displays.
Bus Éireann Website
The Bus Éireann home page and its internal pages are WCAG 2.0 AA compliant
The overall percentage of wheelchair accessible vehicles within the Bus Éireann fleet will continue to grow in line with investment in new vehicles. As it currently stands the bus fleet that operates on City and Town services is 100% wheelchair accessible, and the coach fleet that operates on Commuter and Expressway services is 78% wheelchair accessible. Overall the quantity of wheelchair accessible vehicles in the Bus Éireann service fleet is 86%.
City / Town Services
All of the City and Town services operated by Bus Éireann have low floor wheelchair accessible buses and are 100% accessible. There is a designated wheelchair space on each bus and wheelchair access to the bus is by an integrated ramp. A wheelchair user has priority for use of this designated area at all times. One occupied Childs buggy or pushchair may be parked in this designated area when it is not occupied by a wheelchair.
Expressway / Regional Services
Wheelchair accessibility is available on a number of Bus Éireann coaches operating on Expressway and Regional services; however, the number of routes is limited due to constraints regarding accessible bus stops. The introduction of additional fully accessible routes is dependent on the provision of suitably accessible bus stops infrastructure.
Each wheelchair accessible coach has one wheelchair space, which must be booked 24 hours in advance using our reservation system. This can be done by contacting Bus Éireann by telephone 1850 836 611.
Currently we have wheelchair accessibility on the following 5 regional routes:
- Waterford to Cork, Route 40
- Galway to Ballina (station-to-station only) Route 456
- Galway to Athlone (station-to-station only) Route 20 & 430
- Navan to DCU via Dublin Airport (accessible bus stops at Collins Avenue/DCU, Dublin Airport, and Navan), Route 109A
- Dublin – Letterkenny (accessible bus stops at Dublin, Busáras; Dublin Airport, Lifford and Letterkenny), Route 32
Further Information and how to book an accessible coach service
The bus fleet that operates on City and Town services is 100% wheelchair accessible and does not require booking in advance.
The wheelchair spaces on board buses and coaches allow a floor space of 1,200mm (length) by 700mm (width) in which to accommodate a wheelchair. The wheelchair accessible coaches in the Bus Éireann fleet are fitted with a hydraulic wheelchair lift that has a safe working load of 300kg. It is important to note that the weight to be lifted include the wheelchair, its occupant and any other baggage to be lifted.
In order to accommodate a wheelchair all coach types used on the service require the removal of up to 4 seats. This is not a task that can be carried out by the driver during the service for health and safety reasons and so the seats are removed at the local garage. As well as removing the seats, other equipment (ramp/ lift, floor tracking, restraint clamping system) required for ensuring the safety of the wheelchair passenger during their journey is pre-checked and verified to be present and in working order prior to departure.
To ensure these checks are carried out and also to ensure a fully accessible coach is correctly allocated to the service required, it is necessary to have an advanced booking system in place. Even if seats were permanently removed from the coaches, the other equipment would still need to be checked and verified to be present and in working order prior to the coach departing to collect the wheelchair passenger.
The reservation system requires any intending customer to book at least 24 hours in advance of his/her journey by telephoning the Bus Éireann information line on 1850 836 611. In this way customers know if a wheelchair space is available and Bus Éireann can make the necessary arrangements to remove seats in order to accommodate the wheelchair on the vehicle. This reservation system is common practice across other EU countries.
Further information about accessible coach services:
Bus Éireann remains committed to rolling out the accessible coach service with wheelchair lift facilities on a route by route basis as soon as the full complement of accessible coaches are available on the route and the appropriate bus stop infrastructure is in place.
All new vehicles purchased since 2008 are accessible either through low floor access (roll on/roll off), “kneeling” access that sees the vehicle lowered to bring the entrance step area in line with or closer to the kerb, or wheelchair lift. All our vehicles also feature handrails that assist with ascending or descending the entrance steps, and contrasting strips that define each step.
Accessible single deck coaches commonly feature wheelchair lifts positioned either through the front entrance door, behind the front wheel or at the rear of the coach. The lift positioned behind the front wheel is the most common arrangement on the Bus Éireann fleet.
There are a number of infrastructure issues that need to be addressed in order for the side lift on the high floor coaches to be operated safely. We require a firm 3m square operating area at each bus stop where the lift is to be used. The lift itself extends 2m and 1m is required for wheelchair access. Without this clear operating area customers would encounter difficulties manoeuvring on and off the lift as they would be obstructed by walls etc. or forced to negotiate uneven ground and/or soft verges.
There can be some difficulties with powered wheelchairs regarding their weight, but also how far out the battery pack protrudes beyond the chair itself, which can make it difficult to secure with the supplied restraints which would be a major concern under health and safety on board our vehicles. Such details would therefore need to be established when bookings are being made so as to be certain that we can accommodate the intending passenger safely.
Mobility scooters are designed to provide outdoor mobility as an alternative to other forms of private and public transport. They are primarily designed to be used on pavements and roads and are not necessarily designed to be carried on public transport vehicles. As a result some mobility scooters can be large, heavy and/or difficult to manoeuvre, and may not be easily transported in vehicles. Consequently, it may not be possible to carry all mobility scooters based on health and safety reasons relating to their size, weight, fuel and restraint requirements.
There are occasions when we have assisted customers to travel when they have small lightweight mobility scooters for storage and carriage in the coach luggage hold. We would need to check on the passengers ability to board / does the scooter fold / what is the weight of the scooter / can it be stored in boot of coach / does it need to be tied down? The mobility scooter must break down into separate parts each weighing no more than 20kg. This would also be subject to the following conditions:
- We are notified at least 24 hours before your journey; details of the size, make and model of the mobility scooter so we can check with the manufacturer and ensure it is suitable for carriage on the coach; we will advise suitability of your mobility scooter for carriage on our coaches; the mobility scooter must break down into separate parts each weighing no more than 20kg.
- Due to the different duties we ask our drivers to carry out, we ask that you are accompanied at the point of departure and arrival by a companion who is able to dismantle and reassemble the scooter for carriage in the coach luggage hold.
- Mobility scooters must be operated by dry cell or gel-type batteries only.
All new station facilities are specified to be accessible and we are continually investing in improving access to our existing facilities.
Dundalk, Drogheda, Killarney, Waterford, Athlone, Sligo, Cavan, Monaghan, Ballina, Letterkenny, Parnell Place Cork, Ennis, Tralee and Busáras bus station in Dublin are all fully accessible. These bus stations also have accessible toilets available together with Rosslare Harbour, Limerick, Kilkenny and Galway.
Customer Information phone Number for Bus Éireann: 1850 836 611
Alternatively you can email Bus Éireann
The Sectoral Plan under the Disability Act 2005 envisaged that the entire scheduled service coach fleet in Ireland would have been replaced by wheelchair accessible coaches by 2015. Due to funding constraints, the Sectoral Plan has been somewhat delayed. Bus Éireann is fully committed to playing its part in meeting the goals of the plan. It is expected that the plan will be fully implemented by 2019.
Bus Éireann is represented on the Public Transport Accessibility Committee (PTAC), which was established under the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness in July 2000. The terms of reference of the Committee are:
To advise the Minister on the accessibility aspects of proposed public transport investments.
To advise the Minister on accessibility issues relating to existing public transport infrastructure, facilities and services and where appropriate make recommendations for prioritised, cost effective measures to address these issues.
Bus Éireann also has an active accessibility user group whose members include the IWA, DeafHear, NCBI, and the Disability Focus Group on the Dublin Community Forum.