Guide Dogs calls for disability awareness training for drivers

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Guide Dogs claims that the British public has overwhelmingly backed calls for disability awareness training for all bus drivers.

A survey by ComRes for the charity found more than 80% of the 2,031 people interviewed support the introduction of the training. This comes as the Government reviews whether bus and coach drivers must have disability awareness training.

The UK is currently exempt from a European regulation 181/2011 which makes disability awareness training mandatory for all bus and coach drivers.

In March 2013 the Government promised to review the exemption in a year, now Guide Dogs is urging Transport Minister Baroness Kramer to act.

Campaigns Manager James White said: “We don’t want Britain to fall behind the rest of Europe on this issue. People with disabilities rely heavily on public transport and driver training is key to ensuring bus travel is accessible to all passengers. The sector has had a year to show they will improve driver disability awareness and while some bus companies provide training for their drivers, it is clear that many drivers are still not sufficiently trained.”

The ComRes survey also stated that 87% of people backed Guide Dogs’ Talking Buses campaign, agreeing that audio announcements on buses would have a positive impact on the experience of disabled bus passengers. Other measures supported include the return of on-board conductors (81%), more buses in rural areas (85%) and stricter enforcement of anti-social behaviour rules (85%).