Blind passengers urge more Nottingham buses to take on Talking Buses campaign

1014-007Campaigners want all buses to have audio and visual announcements as a legal requirement to help blind and visually impaired passengers.

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For many public transport users taking the bus is a simple task of getting from A to B, but if your hearing or sight is impaired travel can become a lot more difficult.

The ‘Talking Buses’ campaign says currently only 20% of buses in the country provide announcements and if London is discounted that falls to 3%.

The Guide Dogs association has been running the campaign since 2010.

Nottingham City Transport, the city’s main bus operator, boasts 75% of its buses currently provide these facilities but wants to increase this figure to 100% in the next two to three years.

Despite a large majority of buses in the city making these announcements, the facility is still not a legal requirement.

Campaigners say the 25% of buses in Nottingham without the service restricts the independence of the disabled and the elderly, and their safety.

Visually impaired mum of one, Claire Cooper, of Grassmoor Road, Long Eaton, is backing the campaign and wants audio and visual announcements to be a mandatory facility on all public transport vehicles.

Diagnosed with genetic eye disease retinis pigmentosa five years ago just after her wedding, the 26-year-old, suffers from very limited peripheral vision and described travelling on buses without next stop announcements as a daunting experience.

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Mrs Cooper wants to highlight the issue and travelled on an NCT bus with Nottingham South MP Lillian Greenwood on Monday October 6, who was blindfolded for the journey.

Travelling on a bus with the audio and visual facilities, Ms Greenwood said of the experience: “It’s so much better.

“Immediately you’re getting these announcements and you can feel where you are and you feel much more confident.”

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Engagement officer for Guide Dogs, Kelly France, also took part in the journey with Mrs Cooper and Ms Greenwood and is keen for other bus operators around the company to follow NCT’s example.

Ms France said: “Audio visual announcements make a real difference to somebody.

“We really want audio visual announcements to be on buses to help people who are visually impaired travel independently and confidently.”

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