Bus Users UK has investigated apps for local bus services in Wales to find out how accessible they are to passengers; under the Equalities Act 2010, mobile apps must be accessible and provide all users with equal access to services. A team from Bus Users in Wales examined apps from Arriva Wales, First Cymru, Stagecoach in South Wales, Cardiff Bus, Newport Bus and Traws Cymru. Each app was tested for design and ease of use around ticketing, journey planning, timetable search, maps, user accounts and operating systems.
Cardiff Bus, Newport Bus and Traws Cymru achieved the highest overall accessibility scores of 99%, followed by Arriva Wales with 91%, First Cymru with 84% and Stagecoach in South Wales with 75%. There was room for improvement with all six apps, however, with the team concluding that assistive technologies would greatly enhance the user experience and improve accessibility for all passengers.
Bus Users UK Director for Wales Barclay Davies urged operators to act on the report’s findings: “Four of the apps we tested achieved accessibility scores above 90%, with three scoring 99% which was extremely encouraging. But there is far more that can be done to make these apps fully inclusive and involving passengers, particularly older and disabled people, in their design is the best way to achieve this.
“No-one should be disadvantaged or denied access to services by poorly designed or inaccessible technology. We would also urge operators to consider people without internet access or a smart phone and provide information in a range of formats so that no-one gets left behind.”
Bus Users UK plans to expand its work in this field to include multi-modal and coach operator apps.