Leisure and travel concessions
There are a number of leisure and travel concessions that you could be entitled to if you are blind or partially sighted - discover what they are and if you could qualify.
Concessions on public transport
If you are registered as either blind (severely sight impaired) or partially sighted (sight impaired) you could be entitled to significantly cheaper or even free travel on public transport. If you are aged 60 or over, some of the these concessions are open to you regardless of your disability.
The Disabled Person’s Railcard gives at least one third off the price of certain rail tickets for the cardholder, and an accompanying adult where applicable, in England, Wales and Scotland.
Even if you do not have the Disabled Person’s Railcard, you can get discounted rail travel of 34 per cent or 50 per cent on certain tickets, or free travel for a companion when you travel on your season ticket. To qualify you must be travelling with another person and have a document confirming your registration both when you buy and when travelling on your ticket.
Call 0845 605 0525 or visit the Disabled persons railcard website for further details.
You can get sighted assistance at the start and end of your rail journey. Contact the relevant train operating company in advance to arrange this. For more information visit Disabillity onboard website.
You will be able to get a bus pass that gives you free concessionary travel throughout the country. There may also be community transport services such as Shopmobility and taxi discount schemes available in your area such as the Taxicard scheme in Greater London.
If you live in Scotland you can get a Scottish Blind Persons Travel Card that entitles you to free standard class travel on all rail, local bus, ferry and long distance services in Scotland, and on the Glasgow underground.
If you live in Northern Ireland, you can get a Smart Pass that entitles you to free or half-price travel on nearly all scheduled bus and rail services. If you live in London the Freedom Pass gives you free travel on almost all public transport in London.
Free or discounted travel on local ferry services is available in some parts of the UK.
Contact your local authority or local transport providers for further details of travel concessions in your area.
Car parking – the Blue Badge scheme
If you are registered as blind (severely sight impaired), you could be eligible to apply for the Blue Badge scheme. The scheme, run by local authorities, allows drivers to park in spaces reserved for disabled people. Often these are very close to buildings and facilities to make it easier for disabled people to get to them.
Although the Blue Badge would be in your name and you would be unable to drive yourself because of your sight loss, you can use it in any vehicle in which you travel.
For more information about the scheme, contact your local authority or the Blue Badge Initial Enquiry Support Service. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call one of the following numbers:
- England: 0844 463 0213
- Scotland: 0844 463 0214
- Wales: 0844 463 0215.
Unfortunately the scheme is not available in Northern Ireland.
Free cinema ticket for someone accompanying you
Although you may not be able to get a discount for your own ticket to the cinema, you may be able to get a free ticket for anyone accompanying you if you sign up for a Cinema Exhibitor's Association (CEA) card.
To apply for the card you will need to prove that you receive a qualifying benefit (such as Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or Attendance Allowance) or that you are registered as blind (severely sight impaired).
For more information on how to apply and which cinemas take part in the scheme, visit the CEA card website or call 0845 123 1292.
Entry to places of interest and events
Most museums, galleries, exhibitions, theatres, concert venues and places of interest in the UK will usually offer discounted entry (if they charge at all) to disabled people – including blind and partially sighted people.
The same venue may also offer services to make their venue accessible to people with sight loss. For example, a museum may offer guided tours or audio guides that you can listen to as you move amongst the exhibits; a concert venue may have special seats reserved that are closer to the stage; or a theatre may provide audio-described performances, and even a chance to meet the cast and feel their costumes beforehand.
Contact the venue you’re interested in visiting to see what discounts they can offer you and what services they have to make your visit more enjoyable.
Free loan of audio equipment
If you are registered as either blind (severely sight impaired) or partially sighted (sight impaired), over the age of eight and on a means-tested benefit, you could be entitled to the loan of audio equipment from the British Wireless for the Blind. The charity produces and loans out specially adapted radios, digital radios, internet audio radios, tape and CD players.