There are a range of transport services designed to meet the needs of children and young people with SEND in North Somerset. We have provided information below which should help you to choose the right one for the type of journey you need to take.
There is also some financial support with the cost of travel and parking available.
Travel Buddy project
The Travel Buddy project aims to support disabled young people and adults to use public transport safely and independently, allowing them to become part of their community, access new opportunities and to find employment. The team is made up of people with learning disabilities, employed as travel buddies that work across Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. All travel buddies complete a structured training programme to work in the project. They have a vast knowledge of bus travel and the skills and experience to help other people. The buddies have a unique perception of the needs and difficulties that people with disabilities face in their lives and in their travels.
Home to school transport
For children and young people of statutory school age, we provide free travel to school in some specific circumstances. Transport is usually discussed as part of an Education, Health and Care Plan assessment and our SEN Team will explain whether you are likely to be entitled and who will be organising your travel.
North Somerset Council commissions local coach, bus and taxi companies to provide these services on our behalf, and we will usually be able to tell you the time and place your child will be picked up and dropped off in advance. We always ensure that the operator is using the correct type of vehicle for children's needs, and that they are safely managing the carriage of wheelchairs or other mobility aids.
In some circumstances, even if you are not entitled to free travel, we may be able to offer spare seats on our vehicles for a reasonable annual fare.
Public transport services
North Somerset has an extensive network of local bus services covering most communities. Most buses are accessible with low floors, wheelchair spaces and other features designed to make travel easier. Major stops in town centres, along main corridors and an increasing number of other stops have raised areas to provide level boarding.
Digital real time information displays at a growing number of bus stops give up to the minute information regarding the next buses arriving at the stop. The majority of bus stops also have timetable information displays, which include SMS details, for passengers to text and receive information regarding the next three buses due at that stop.
The Travelwest bus checker app is very useful for providing scheduled times, real time information and bus routes for all stops and services in the West of England.
Rail services also provide regular trains from Weston, Worle, Yatton and Nailsea to Bristol and Taunton - with some longer distance services continuing to London, the Midlands or the South West of England too. There are also a range of long-distance coach services operating in the area, picking up in the larger towns.
The Traveline website also indicates if services are operated by accessible vehicles. If you have a smartphone then you can use the Traveline Journey Planner app which is available for Android and iPhone.
For more information on North Somerset's bus network, travel updates, local events, timetable and route changes, promotions, offers and other public transport news please visit the North Somerset Public Transport Facebook page.
Taxis and private hire vehicles
For shorter journeys, or journeys where the bus or rail networks don’t serve your destination, you may wish to use a taxi or private hire car. Private hire vehicles are booked in advance by telephone and should be able to give you a fixed price for your journey. Taxis may be booked in advance or hailed in the street and will charge on a meter. In either case, drivers and their vehicles are licensed by North Somerset Council.
To ensure the vehicle will be fully accessible, booking in advance and explaining your requirements is advised. There are an increasing number of wheelchair accessible vehicles available.
Community transport services
Our local community transport projects provide services on a 'dial a ride' basis for people with disabilities or limited mobility across North Somerset. The service is usually provided from door to door and is booked in advance with a fare agreed before travel. Holders of a Diamond Travel Card received a reduction on fares too.
There are around twenty providers of the scheme across the area, with many providing accessible vehicles.