MP calls for an end to “game of chance” bus service for blind people

At the Liberal Democrat Party Conference in Glasgow, local MP Jo Swinson got a chance to experience, through a memory game, why people with sight loss need audio-visual announcements (AV) on buses.

Jo_Swinson_MP.JPGGetting off at the right bus stop is like “playing a game of chance”, said guide dog owner Linda, about her experiences navigating the bus network without sight. 

AV is essential for people with sight loss to live independently, yet only one fifth of the UK’s buses have AV. Without AV, bus passengers with sight loss have to ask the driver to remember to tell them when they have reached their stop. 

Finding out more about Guide Dogs’ work, Jo heard that 7 in 10 bus passengers with sight loss have been forgotten by a bus driver. For a sighted person, missing a stop is an annoyance, but for someone with sight loss, it is potentially very dangerous. 

Jo commented: 

“The Guide Dogs’ conference stand did a great job of emphasising how impossible it is for a bus driver to always remember to tell people when to get off. Audio-visual announcements are such a simple and cheap solution and would ensure accessible public transport for all that is so vital to people’s everyday lives. Technology is there to make our lives easier so I would encourage bus companies to consider the benefits to all passengers of installing this service.” 

James White, Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs commented: 

“Guide dogs do fantastic work getting people out and about safely, and the lack of AV acts as a real barrier to their independence. That’s why we’re urging politicians like Jo to call for the mandatory installation of AV on buses, something that is cheap to do.”

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