Before you get onboard public transport

What you need to know before boarding public transport

Public transport operators have spent time and money to make
many of their vehicles and services accessible for people with a
mobility impairment.

Before you start travelling onboard public transport with a wheelchair
or mobility scooter, it is a good idea to be aware of your rights and

Do your homework

If you have never taken your wheelchair or mobility scooter on public
transport before, do some research before you leave home.

Make sure your wheelchair or mobility scooter is public transport
friendly and meets the Transport Standards.
If you have specific concerns or questions about travelling on public
transport, discuss them with the transport company.

Practise before you need to travel

Consider taking your wheelchair or mobility scooter on public
transport just to learn how to get around, before you need to
get somewhere.

For example, you may wish to travel during off-peak on buses,
trains, trams and ferries for your first few journeys, especially if you
are uncertain about how you will go. There will be fewer people
onboard and you will have more time and space to learn how to use
your wheelchair or mobility scooter.

If you are new to travelling by train, or want to refresh your travelling
skills, Queensland Rail runs quarterly Rail Safety and Orientation
Days. At these events, Queensland Rail staff are on hand to take
you through a station and stationary train in a relaxed and controlled

You will have an opportunity to learn about the variety of accessibility
features found across the City network, practice boarding,
disembarking, moving through the carriage and ask questions of
station staff and train crew. For more information about Rail Safety
and Orientation Days, email communityengagement@qr.com.au

Plan each journey

It is a good idea to plan ahead when wanting to travel on public
transport. Many services are accessible for passengers travelling
with wheelchairs and mobility scooters, but some are not.

If you are booking an accessible taxi, you should plan ahead and
pre-book your taxi. Make sure you let the booking company know
that you require an accessible taxi as these bookings must be given
priority over general bookings.

If you are at a taxi rank, and a rank marshal is present, accessible
taxis can be requested via radio, if there isn’t one waiting. A vacant,
on duty taxi (usually indicated by the hail light turned on) may be
hailed at any time; however the driver must not disregard the road
rules to pull over to accept the fare.

The Transport Standards require response times for accessible
taxis bookings to be the same as for other taxis. The department
publishes information it receives from taxi companies about waiting
times on its website at www.tmr.qld.gov.au.

Queensland Rail does not require advance notice of your plans if
you intend on travelling on the City network.

If you are planning to travel on Queensland Rail’s long distance
Traveltrain services, contact their Customer Care Centre on
1800 TRAINS (872 467) to discuss travel requirements.

If you are using G:link trams on the Gold Coast, you do not need to
provide advance notice of your journey.

If you’re planning to travel by other modes of public transport
such as buses and ferries, and you have specific travel needs or
particular questions, play it safe and raise them with the transport
operator before travelling.

If you give the operator time to plan ahead, they will be better
prepared to assist you and ensure you have a safe and comfortable

Credit: Wheelchairs and Mobility Scooters | Department of Transport and Main Roads © The State of Queensland (Department of Transport and Main Roads) 2017  http://creative commons.org/licences/by-nd-sa/2.5/au TMRWMS updated February 2017
Before you get onboard public transport2019-09-24T11:28:31+10:00

Queensland road rules for using a wheelchair or mobility scooter

The Queensland road rules

A person with a mobility impairment who uses a wheelchair or mobility scooter is considered to be a pedestrian under the Queensland road rules.

By law, wheelchairs or mobility scooters used by people with a mobility impairment can go anywhere a pedestrian can go, such as footpaths, shopping centres and nature strips.

Road rules that apply to pedestrians also apply to wheelchair and mobility scooter users. These are:

Footpaths: Wheelchairs and mobility scooters can be used on footpaths, bicycle paths, shared paths and nature strips (such as grass verges between the footpath and the road). Footpaths must be used wherever possible to avoid riding on the road.

On the road: You must not use your wheelchair or mobility scooter on the road in the same way as a car.

A wheelchair or mobility scooter can only be taken on the road if there is no footpath, pathway or nature strip available, and only where a pedestrian is allowed to walk.

If you do need to use the road, stay as close as possible to the side of the road, and travel in the opposite direction to traffic so you have good visibility.

If you need to cross a road, always cross at the safest possible point. Use pedestrian crossings, traffic lights or refuge islands if available. You must obey all traffic signals intended for pedestrians.

Safety tips on footpaths and roads

  • Travel at a speed suitable to the conditions.
  • Use streets with footpaths or other off-road pathways, where possible.
  • Try to avoid hilly routes if an alternative route is available because these use more power and may be more difficult to navigate safely.
  • Make turns slowly.
  • Approach ramps and kerbs head-on.
  • Be careful around parked cars.
  • Be aware that your smaller size often makes you less visible.
  • If you have a battery power gauge, be mindful that the second half of the battery is drained more quickly than the first half. As visibility on roads and paths is often poor at night, try and make sure pedestrians and motorists can see you.
  • Wear brightly coloured clothes.
  • Display a white light at the front, a red light at the back and reflectors for times when there is less daylight.

For more information, read the ‘Help Cut Mobility Scooter Accidents’ booklet by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, available at www.productsafety.gov.au (and searching for ‘help cut mobility scooter accidents’).


You should keep your wheelchair or mobility scooter in good repair and do maintenance regularly. Before each trip, check it over:

  • Is it in safe working order?
  • Are the tyres pumped up?
  • Are the brakes functioning properly?
  • Are all the lights and indicators working?
  • Is your battery fully charged?

If you have a motorised device, make sure the battery is fully charged. A flat battery can make it difficult to climb a ramp and board public transport unassisted. As well, a flat battery may leave you stranded.

Breakdown recovery

RACQ offers an Emergency Wheelchair Breakdown Service throughout Queensland if you do break down and some retailers offer a ‘recovery’ service when you buy a mobility device from them.

Credit: Wheelchairs and Mobility Scooters | Department of Transport and Main Roads © The State of Queensland (Department of Transport and Main Roads) 2017  http://creative commons.org/licences/by-nd-sa/2.5/au TMRWMS updated February 2017  
More Information
Queensland road rules for using a wheelchair or mobility scooter2019-09-19T12:13:01+10:00