Friday, 8 November 2013

Reportage: Bus drivers will be blindfolded to raise understanding

A group of visually impaired people are swapping places with bus drivers in Wakefield to highlight the difficulties they face travelling on public transport.

The event, organised by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), is apart of an ongoing campaign to raise awareness of blind and partially sighted people's needs when travelling on buses.

Bus drivers from Arriva Yorkshire will be blindfolded and asked to carry out tasks such as boarding a bus, paying for a ticket, and finding a seat so they understand the difficulties faced by visually impaired passengers.


Tracy Dearing, RNIB regional campaigns officer for Yorkshire and Humber, said: “One of the biggest barriers that blind and partially sighted people face when using public transport is being able to recognise and stop a bus, to find a seat and then know when they're at their destination.

“We've had a really positive response from bus operators, and we've found that in places we've offered these events companies have taken things on board and things have improved.

“It's not just about bus companies understanding the issues faced by blind and partially sighted
people, it's also about understanding the difficulties faced by bus drivers.

“Bus drivers get a really hammering, but they've got to drive a bus, they've got think about health and safety, as well a provide this level of customer service that we're asking for.”

"However, the difficulties blind and partially sighted people face in making journeys, that other people often take for granted, are unacceptable and often unnecessary. We want operators to remember one simple principle – stop for me, speak to me," she added.

The event is a collaboration between RNIB, Action for Blind People, the Guide Dogs for Blind Association and Arriva Yorkshire, and at will be taking place at Wakefield Bus Station on November 15.

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