Better Access to Bus Travel for Blind and Partially Sighted People

I recently spoke to blind and partially sighted people about the difficulties they face when travelling by bus, on a visit to the offices of RNIB / Action for Blind People.

The visit was part of the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s (RNIB) bus campaign which is calling on bus operators to remember one simple principle: Stop for me, Speak to me.

A recent RNIB survey of blind and partially sighted people revealed a number of barriers:

  • 9 in 10 people with sight loss cannot see an approaching bus in time to hail it
  • 8 in 10 people with sight loss say they miss the bus they want
  • 6 in 10 people said buses which stopped away from the official bus stop caused them to often miss their bus or step off the bus into hazards such as bins and lampposts
  • Over half of respondents said they had difficulty obtaining spoken information from the driver such as the bus number and destination.

I also joined the group on a short bus journey around Liverpool City Centre to see first hand the difficulties that people with sight problems may experience when travelling by bus, and why it is important for operator staff to have training in supporting disabled passengers.

Bus operators need to take into account the needs of disabled passengers with all impairments, including blind and partially sighted people. Bus travel is often the only affordable means of transport available and so needs to be accessible to passengers with sight problems.

More information about the campaign can be found at http://www.rnib.org.uk/bus or by calling RNIB’s campaigns hotline on 020 7391 2123.