Guide Dogs week events
Guide Dogs has delivered a petition to the government calling for audio visual (AV) technology to be installed on all new buses. Part of the charity’s ‘Talking Buses’ campaign, the petition gained 9,914 signatures supporting AV on buses. The petition was organised following a survey suggesting people who are blind and partially sighted are being let down by the lack of AV technology on buses. Entitled ‘Destination Unknown’, the study of 2,009 people (818 of whom were blind or partially sighted) suggested 65% of blind and partially sighted bus passengers have missed their stop at least once in the last six months. 73% of bus users who responded said none of their local services had onboard AV announcements, while 14% of disabled survey respondents said a bus driver always responds appropriately to their needs as a disabled passenger.
Guide Dogs Campaigns Manager, James White, said, ‘The findings of Destination Unknown show that the bus network is not yet fit for purpose for passengers with sight loss. We hope that the Government takes note of the strength of feeling shown by today’s petition and acts to ensure all buses in the UK are Talking Buses.’
In Reading, a new bus fitted with audio/visual next stop announcements is being used as part of a Guide Dogs for the Blind awareness event. The single decker is part of the growing number of ‘talking buses’ in the Reading fleet designed to help visually impaired customers avoid being left behind at a bus stop.
Nottingham South Labour MP and Shadow Transport Minister, Lilian Greenwood has travelled blindfolded on a Nottingham City Transport (NCT) bus to raise awareness of the importance of audio ‘next stop’ announcements. Lilian made two bus journeys while blindfolded, one journey with audio announcements and one journey without them. NCT already has next stop announcements on 75% of its fleet.