Steve McCabe MP has pledged his support for a new campaign to improve accessible bus transport for blind people.
Steve met with campaigners from leading charity Guide Dogs at Labour Party Conference this week to discuss the role of talking buses in improving accessibility. He heard about the experience of a guide dog owner who had missed their stop and been left stranded on a bus because they were unable to know where on the route they were.
Sadly, this is not an isolated experience: 7 in 10 passengers with sight loss have been forgotten on a bus. Talking buses, which are buses that provide “next stop” and “final destination” announcements, are essential for people with sight loss to live independently. Worryingly, only one fifth of the UK’s buses are talking, 97% of which are in London. For a sighted person, missing a stop is an annoyance, but for someone with sight loss, it is potentially dangerous.
Steve has pledged his support for Guide Dogs’ proposal to make buses accessible for everyone. Labour has already made an amendment to the Bus Services Bill currently going through Parliament to put in a requirement for talking buses. Talking buses give independence to people with sight loss, enabling them to travel on their own and reducing stress and anxiety. They also help other travellers including tourists and infrequent bus users to reach their destination safely.
Steve McCabe MP said:
“I was shocked to learn how often people with sight loss are left on buses because they do not know where they are. The Bus Services Bill is the biggest reform of buses since the 1980s so it is a unique opportunity to make sure that blind people can use buses safely too.”