Guide Dogs UK has released a leaflet which provides useful information to bus drivers when dealing with blind customers.
The charity is currently running a ‘Talking Buses’ campaign which is aiming to have AV (Audio Visual) announcements on buses become a much more familiar feature across the country.
AV systems are an invaluable help to partially-sighted or blind bus passengers, and the campaign has already received support from 35 different charities including CBT, the Blue Badge Network and Assistance Dogs.
The charity has used new legislation, for rail services needing to deploy AV systems on their trains, as motivation for a coherent and committed campaign. Its research report has shown the lack of information on board buses make blind and partially-sighted people dependent on the help of other passengers or the driver, and often leaves them feeling anxious and vulnerable.
The Talking Buses campaign is aiming to have its voice heard at the highest level of government, asking MPs to sign an Early Day Motion to draw attention to the issue, running advertisements in government magazines and locations around Westminster, and working with the DfT to explore the feasibility and practical issues of providing AV announcements on buses.
On a local scale, Guide Dogs aims to talk to councils and local authorities, asking them to improve services for local people by demanding bus operators in their area to install AV systems and provide financial support.
While progress is made on the campaign, Guide Dogs continues to work closely with the bus industry to support blind and partially sighted people in being more mobile. As part of this, it has produced a leaflet for bus drivers, giving them tips on helping passengers with sight loss, to make journeys safer and easier for everyone.