Using a mobility vehicle in a shopping centre

Hi everyone. This might sound like a strange question!

There’s a covered shopping centre near me (in Brent Cross in London if anyone knows it). You can hire wheelchairs/mobility scooters for your visit -no charge. It’s not that big but I don’t like going as I find it too hot (I think they try and save on airconditioning!) and the lights and flooring make me feel a bit - well, odd. When I go I park in a disabled space with my blue badge and take my walking pole.

I was recently in the Gunwharf Quays shopping centre in Portsmouth with my husband and I thought I’d try one of these vehicles. It was actually quite fun although reversing was a bit tricky and I didn’t want to mow anyone down! I was told to just take out the key and keep it with me if I didn’t want to go into a store with it (I didn’t need to, it’s just the walking between the stores which I find tiring)

So I was thinking about getting one of these scooters next time I go to my local centre but I wondered what everyone’s experience of scooters in shopping centres is. I’d be concerned (if I was on my own) that I’d come out of a store/the ladies’ loos) that the scooter wouldn’t still be there! This particular shopping centre isn’t that spacious, being 43 years old and the first one of its kind in the UK. So it’s relatively small and not that wide.

Thanks for your views!


Go for it Louise, we’ve got a Shopmobility scheme in my Borough but we have to prove residency I’m sure they’ll go through your responsibilities and you can ask about security and assistance should you need help, you can usually take them in larger stores and they can be driven into the accessible loos so you don’t have any worries about leaving them unattended a lot of the time, the other thing you could look at is in the larger supermarkets there’s usually some mobility carts/scooters for customer use in store just ask at customer service. As they say “every little helps” and it’s practice for when you might buy one for yourself.

good luck.

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Hello Louise. To use a cliche-it’s a game-changer. Don’t worry about other people. If they can see they can move.

Steve x

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Thanks. It’s Shopmobility here in that shopping centre too. I used to go with my mother a few years ago (pre-MS) and borrow a wheelchair for her - and actually push it - I could in those days. They also have them at my branch of Tesco where I go a lot, but I’ve never felt I needed them. I just feel ok pushing a trolly and can even nip down the aisles without it. I was thinking more about shopping malls. I do need to go there (why I left it until school holidays start is beyond me!) so might just suck it up and give it a shot.

Yes go for it. its fun, see how many shoppers you can mow down ha ha. I love my scooter and i have used the ones in stores but dont go shopping so much now its such a chore, and i hate all the lights. but have some fun.

Hi Louise,

It was my life saver when I started using Shopmobiity scooters. I now have my own, but still borrow one occasionally or if I’m in a different city or want a shopping box on the back.

You usually pay an annual membership. Nice people explain the controls to you and let you have a little scoot round.

If you walk into a shop just take the key with you.

I’m an experienced scooter person now and know my width. Always say that if you can get round the lingerie department in M and S without knocking anything off, then you’re a good driver!!

National Trust places have Trampers, heavy duty scooters that can go off road, I always book one if I’m going out and about at a NT place. I love wildlife and nature.

Let us know how you get on.


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When I had a cast on my leg, I couldn’t walk to far. I found that my local mall had a mobility scheme and I had to provide that I lived in area which I did and they made me a card out for it then I had three hours to go shopping around the city and all of the shopping centres and shops, it was great the next time I broke a bone in my foot they didn’t put a cast on so I wasn’t able to book a chair, I wasn’t able to go to far that time. There very good.


Funnily enough Jen the reason I want to go to Brent Cross is to go into M & S to buy some lingerie! (TMI alert!) But I would definitely leave the scooter outside as it’s rather narrow especially in that department! I’m an NT member (along with my husband) and haven’t seen those Tramper things. I’ll definitely check next time we go to an NT property. Louise

Hi Louise,

Very funny about M and S! Take the scooter into the shop and just park it somewhere out of the way. You may be too tired to walk back to it if it’s outside.

NT - Always book a tramper as each property only have one or two and there is no charge. They give you instructions how to drive as heavier than scooters but then you’re away to enjoy special places in our beautiful country.

Have a good Summer.


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I’d be lost without a scooter if I ever go shopping with my wife. One of the most useful mobility aids ever created.