Travel and Parking for People with Disabilities
Information on travelling options for people with disabilities in Germany. Find out how to apply for a 'blue badge' disability parking permit...
Although efforts have been made to improve transport options for people with disabilities, there are still some limitations.
Seriously disabled people may travel on public transport for free, provided they have a dual-coloured disability card (green and orange) and an additional page with a special token (Beiblatt mit Wertmarke). This can be obtained from the Pensions and Benefits Office, either against a small payment or for free, depending on the degree and nature of the disability.
The national German rail company, Deutsche Bahn, has a special hotline for disabled travellers to book and request assistance in advance.
- Tel: 01805 512 512
Open: 08:00-20:00 Monday-Friday and 08:00-16:00 on Saturdays
Most railway stations (including local as well as intercity) in Germany have facilities for physically disabled travellers to access the platforms (lifts or ramps). Some regional transport companies offer free or reduced rate transport to disabled passengers and their escorts.
The majority of buses, bus stops, trams and tram stops, underground and overground train stations (U und S- Bahnhoefe) in Germany are wheelchair friendly. There are also some provisions for visually disabled people.
Specially equipped buses and trams
These buses and trams are marked with a wheelchair symbol as being equipped for the disabled, and a footnote on the printed schedule provided at every stop indicates which trams and buses are so equipped. Look for the words behindert (disabled) and ausgestattet (outfitted). Both buses and trams also have seat-belt-like straps provided to prevent the chair from rolling during transit.
- Specially equipped buses also offer disabled access by allowing the driver to lower the steps to form a platform at curb level for wheelchairs. To signal for a stop, press a special blue button (usually marked with a symbol of a either a wheelchair or a baby carriage), which keeps the doors open for a slightly longer time
- Specially equipped trams have similar access for wheelchair users
Even on those buses not specially equipped, there is always enough space for a wheelchair across from the rear door. For people with difficulty walking, there are marked seats at the front of every bus that are close to the door and offer greater ease getting into and out of them. These are marked with a blue and white cross just above or below the seat. Anyone may use them, but an able-bodied person must give up the seat to a disabled passenger upon request.
Special transport in Berlin
A transport system called Telebus exists in Berlin for those who cannot use public transport, the service runs from 05:00-01:00.
- To make use of this service contact the Berlin mobility office
Tel: 030 2610 2300
- For further information on the facilities in Berlin: Click here (in German)
- Wheelchair breakdown service: Tel: 0180 111 4747
Visit Berlin contains information from the Berlin Tourist Office on wheelchair friendly transport, accommodation, restaurants, shops and more as well as links to organisations offering information on what to do in Berlin for visually impaired, deaf and mentally disabled people (in English).
- For further information see Barrier Free Berlin - the disabled guide
The blue badge is a standardised European Community disabled person's parking permit which provides parking entitlements to badge holders in all complying European countries - a blue badge from one country is valid in another. A person coming to Germany from another EU country can apply in their home country for this universal badge which allows the use of reserved parking.
For further information on how to obtain a blue badge, contact the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building & Urban Affairs.
- Federal Ministry of Transport, Building & Urban Affairs
At: Division A13
Things to keep in mind:
- Disabled spaces in car parks reserved for disabled people are marked with a wheelchair symbol
- Do not park in spaces marked with a person's name or vehicle registration number
- When no other options are available, it is permitted to park in pedestrian zones at certain loading and unloading times; check for times
- When no other options are available, disabled drivers may park for up to 24 hours on streets where parking is free but limited by time restrictions
- When no other options are available, disabled drivers may park for up to 3 hours on streets where parking is prohibited as long as the roadway is not obstructed
- Some car parks allow cars with disabled permits to park free of charge in disabled spots; check with the attendant
Drivers with a blue badge from another European country may display this translation beside a badge written in another language (text from the UK Automobile Association):
Parkkarte für Personen mit Behinderungen.
Die Person, die diese Parkkarte
auslegt hat, ist ein
behinderter Besucher aus einem
anderen europäischen Land und zu
den selben Parkvergünstigungen
wie ein behinderter Einwohner
Ihres Landes berechtigt.