Andrew Stunell MP is backing Guide Dogs’ campaign to help blind people get off at the right bus stop by calling for audio-visual announcements on all buses.
Sir Andrew got a chance to experience for himself why people with sight loss need audio-visual announcements (AV) on buses at the Liberal Democrat Party conference last week.
Getting off at the right bus stop is like “playing a game of chance”, says guide dog owner Linda, about her experiences navigating the bus network without sight.
Sir Andrew commented-
“Remembering the journeys at Guide Dogs’ conference stand was a great way of showing it is hard for a bus driver to always remember to tell people when to get off. AV is a simple and cheap solution that ensures those with sight loss can safely use public transport.”
Only one in five of the UK’s buses have AV. Without it bus passengers with sight loss have to ask the driver to remember to tell them when they have reached their stop.
Finding out more about Guide Dogs’ work, the MP for Hazel Grove heard that 7 in 10 bus passengers with sight loss have been forgotten by a bus driver. For a sighted person, missing a stop is an annoyance, but for someone with sight loss, it is potentially very dangerous.
James White, Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs commented –
“Guide dogs do fantastic work getting people out and about safely, and the lack of AV acts as a real barrier to their independence. That’s why we’re urging MPs like Sir Andrew to call for the mandatory installation of AV on buses, something that is cheap to do.”
AV doesn’t just help people with sight loss – tourists, older people and infrequent bus users all find AV useful. Guide Dogs released their Destination Unknown report this September showing that nearly half of survey respondents said they would use the bus more frequently if it had AV.