Blind people are let down by bus companies

Steven Cross with his beloved guide dog Nimmo

Steven Cross with his beloved guide dog Nimmo

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A blind man from Chorley has told how he had to stop using buses.

His revelation comes following a scathing new survey on bus travel for blind and partially sighted people.

The Road to Nowhere Survey by Guide Dogs reveals that 82 per cent of people with sight loss in the North West say they are unable to enjoy the freedom others take for granted because they find travelling by bus so

difficult.

A total of 60 per cent have been put off visiting friends and family, and 35 per cent have missed out on social occasions like birthday parties.

Guide dog owner Steve Cross, 35, of Harestone Avenue, Chorley said: “I stopped using buses from stop to stop after several bad experiences and tend only to use them to and from stations now which can be inconvenient.

“It can be difficult to know when to get off, if a driver forgot to tell me when to get off I could get off at the wrong stop not knowing where I was.

“Talking buses would really help and give me the confidence to use them again.”

Guide Dogs wants all buses to be ‘Talking Buses’ fitted with on-board audio-visual technology which announces routes, destinations and next stops.

It also wants more training for bus drivers, so they know how to support passengers who are blind and partially sighted.

Guide Dogs chief executive Richard Leaman said: “Buses are a vital way for people with sight loss to get out and about freely and independently, but many feel excluded from bus travel because of a lack of accessible information.

‘At present, there is inconsistency within and between bus companies, which means some routes in some areas are fitted with audio visual technology but, on many buses, passengers who are visually impaired have no help at all.

“We call on the Government to regulate to ensure that all buses are Talking Buses.

“We also urge local authorities and bus companies in England to use available funding to fit more buses with audio visual technology for the benefit of all passengers.”