Travel Training

What is travel training ?

Travel Training teaches young people and adults with special educational needs, disabilities or learning disabilities, a safe way of travelling independently that will build self-esteem and confidence. Being able to travel on public transport is a key life skill which lets young people and adults make choices about how they live, go about their daily life and fulfil their potential.

The training involves supporting trainees to use all forms of public transport and where appropriate walking routes to their place of education or day service provision/community.

Often once training has been successfully completed, trainees go on to make more independent journeys to further colleges, social activities and even volunteering or job opportunities.

What does Travel Training cover?

The training covers all aspects of travelling independently giving the trainee many skills for life. Specifically, it covers and gives:

  • Safe ways to travel independently, including specific training on stranger danger and road safety
  • Confidence in using buses and trains
  • How to use timetables and buy tickets
  • Preparing the young person for adulthood
  • Enhances the young persons and adult’s life skills
  • What to do when things go wrong (e.g. the bus is late, lost bus pass, bus broken down)
  • Regular communication with the trainee, their families, school, college or day service provision

How is Travel Training delivered?

Our expert trainers work one to one with all students and adults over a number of weeks to train and assess their ability to make the journeys. The training is designed to make the trainee feel comfortable and to reduce anxiety.

The trainer will create a training plan for the trainee that meets their individual needs as every trainee will learn at a different pace. This will take into account all suitable routes for the trainee’s destination. Trainers provide guidance such as looking out for landmarks, how to buy a ticket, and where to sit on the bus. As training progresses, the trainers start to take a step back to allow the trainee to experience independent travel in a safe way, where the trainer will be on hand in the background if they are needed.

Once the trainer is confident that the trainee is ready to become an independent traveller they will be “signed off” and receive a certificate. The training can take a few weeks to several months, but as long as progress is being made by the trainee the trainer will continue to provide support and training, providing regular updates to families.

Even if you are unsure if travel training is right for you or your child it is best to submit a referral and a travel trainer will arrange a home visit to talk through the process and assess suitability.

How much does it cost?

It’s FREE. There is no cost for this training. For a young person, we require the journey destination to be a place of education, whether it be school or college. For adults, we require them to be attending day care services or accessing their community.

Once a trainee is Travel Trained, if they were travelling via a taxi this taxi service would be cancelled. This enables the trainee to maintain their new life skill. We encourage the trainee to use their SCC obtained bus pass, if eligible, and assist them to apply for a Concessionary bus pass to allow free travel after 9:30 am, and also the Endeavour Card (16-19 year olds) to get a discount on fares before 9:30 am.

For college students, this can be a considerable saving in the cost of their Post 16 transport which SCC is unable to provide free of charge. We also want them to use their new life skill, to reinforce their learning engraining it into their everyday life.

Want to find out more?

Suffolk County Council have a contract with Essex County Council (ECC), for the Essex Travel Training Team to deliver travel training in the county of Suffolk. To date over 750 young people and adults have completed their training in Suffolk and have become independent travellers. ECC have some fantastic Travel Training videos available to further explain Travel Training. You can also see the views of some young people who have benefited from the training.

Travel Training Students

Travel Training Service

How do I apply?

We need a referral. To participate in Travel Training a referral needs to be submitted which can be completed online at Alternatively, you can call 0345 6032200 where your details will be taken over the phone and submitted on your behalf.

A referral can be made by the trainee, their family or carers, or professionals involved with the trainee such as Social Workers and school, college and day service staff. Before any training can be considered, an assessment of the trainee and their route will be carried out by the trainer. If the trainee or the route is not suitable at that time the referrer will be notified and the referral closed. A further referral can be submitted again at a later date and there is no limit to the number of referrals that can be made. As much detail as possible is required about the trainees needs and disabilities, to help the trainer make a full suitability assessment.

Still not sure?

The service looks to support the trainee and the family every step of the way.

We can revisit training if need be, we can provide additional training on a further route if the trainee moves to a new college/school/day service.

Everything is centred around the trainee, as we want them to be successful at gaining the life skill which will enable them to make choices about how they live, go about their daily life, and fulfil their potential.

What’s it like to be a Travel Trainer?

Read stories from some of our current Travel Trainers based in Essex and Suffolk

Read the story – Mark gives us an insight

Read the story – Suzanne shares her experience

Further Information

View contact details for bus service operators in Suffolk
Find a timetable for your bus service

For general enquiries please call 0345 606 6173 or email

Back to top