ON THE BUSES

Last week, we looked at train travel in the UK and how it’s possible to get assistance for journeys to any point on the network.  Before starting this week’s ramble though, it would be good to know what it’s like for VI travellers in other parts of the world.  For instance, is there assistance available to enable you to do a train journey alone; whether that may be in other European countries, the US or other parts of the world.  Please let us know.

Today’s blog is all about taking the bus.  .   Therefore to parody a familiar term, I hope that you’re all aboard and ready for a bus ride to where?  Well, we’ll see.

Getting on a bus or even the thought of taking a journey via this means, can be quite daunting for many.  For one, where do you get off?  Relying on others to tell you where you are can be quite problematic.  Secondly, the frequency of buses may prevent a successful journey.  Thirdly, trying to get a bus to stop and then ascertain its destination/route number can be difficult too.  There are other issues, but relaying experiences guys, its over to you.

What are the solutions?

Well, in London, most buses are fitted with automatic audio announcements which give the destination and stop names as they go on their journeys.  This in effect, gives the information that many need to build confidence when making a bus journey.  This, however, is only in London and throughout the rest of the country, the assistance available is as inconsistent as the level of bus services available.

 

Over the last few years, a number of organisations and individuals have initiated campaigns to improve the state of bus travel for visually impaired people.  The RNIB (royal national Institute of blind people) have delivered their ‘Stop for me, speak to me’ campaign which has encouraged bus companies to take into account the needs of visually impaired travellers.  More information is available at:

http://www.rnib.org.uk/campaigning-current-campaigns/bus-campaign

Guide dogs for the blind (Guide dogs) have been campaigning for some time for audio announcements to be made available on all buses across the country.  Working on the model adopted by London, the campaign is aimed at making travel more accessible to all.  More information can be found at:

http://www.guidedogs.org.uk/supportus/campaigns/talkingbuses#.U2fkGCxOVLg

Additionally, one of the most effective ways of pushing for greater access is to initiate something yourself.  A great example of this has been made by Sajid Ali of Leeds, who has started and oversees a talking buses campaign.  This is to ensure that all bus drivers, in the first instance, announce major stops within Leeds city centre, but on the whole, to encourage bus companies to do this throughout the country.  More information can be found on this from the facebook group by logging onto Facebook and searching for talking buses.

Finally, coach travel hasn’t really had a mention up to now.  Throughout the country companies such as meggabus and national express operate a network of routes connecting cities, regions and communities.  National express, as the largest provider, also offer a similar system to the railways.  When booking tickets, you are also able to ask for assistance at each stop of your journey.  More information can be found at:

http://www.nationalexpress.com/travellingwithus/travel/assisted-travel.aspx

In response to the information given in these blogs, it would be great to hear your experiences; both good and bad.  Travelling can be a daunting experience, but with the assistance available and the ongoing campaigns, let’s hope that it becomes easier in the future.

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