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Handicabs, accessible transport for people with mobility difficulties, Lothians, Scotland

Handicabs (HcL) is a charitable organisation that was set up in 1982 to provide accessible transport for people with mobility difficulties living in Edinburgh and the Lothian region.

Background & Objectives

The company provides two main services;

  • Dial-a-Ride operates 7 days a week and evenings to provide door-through-door transport for people with various mobility restrictions. Booking are made in advance. Fares start at £3.5 (3.9 euro) for the first three miles and increase by 20p per mile thereafter. Escorts (carers) travel free
  • Dial-a-Bus provides a Monday - Friday shopping service to local major shopping centres for people who have difficulty shopping using public transport. Booking are made in advance and the bus collects passengers at their door (drivers will assist passengers to the bus if required) and set-down in the shopping area. Passengers are given 1-2 hours at the shopping centre and collected and returned home (with assistance carrying shopping if required). Fares cost £1.6(1.8 euro) for each return journey.


Both services operate in both rural and urban communities throughout the Lothian region. All vehicles are specially adapted to carry combinations of wheelchair users and other passengers experiencing various mobility impairments.

  • Since the service was launched in 1982, in 2009 they were 9,636 registered users: Dial-a-Ride (4,867) and Dial-a-Bus (4,769)
  • In 2009, 48,630 Dial-a-Ride trips and 60,946 Dial-a-Bus trips were made carrying a total of 109,576 passengers and their escorts, which is on average 2,108 passengers every week.

  • In 2009, HcL employed 43 members of staff to operate the 31 vehicles used and three dispatch centres.


HcL provide an invaluable service to a range of people who experience mobility problems, offering a door-to-door service for social necessity trips providing independence to many mobility-impaired people.

Further information


This Case Study is part of the European urban mobility and transport best practice collection from Eltis -