James Brokenshire has demonstrated his support for the work of Guide Dogs for the Bling and their campaign for ‘talking buses’ at the recent Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham.
Talking buses, which provide clear and audible details of the next stop and the route of the bus, are an invaluable tool for helping those with visual impairments to travel safely and easily on the bus. Attending the Guide Dog’s stand, James heard the experiences of a guide dog owner who was left stranded on a bus having missed their stop, simply because they were unable to see where the bus was going or stopping.
Research shows that 70% of bus passengers with sight loss have been forgotten on a bus. Whilst in London, many buses are equipped with this type of announcement, only one fifth of buses across the UK provide this facility.
Commenting after visiting the stand, James said:
“Travel can be a dangerous and challenging experience for people with sight loss, not least when they are unable to access important information about their journey. Talking buses provide an excellent way of keeping those with visual impairments informed and supporting them and their independence on their travels.”
“I am therefore pleased that, thanks to the hard work of the Guide Dog’s Association, the Government has included a proposal for talking buses in the upcoming Bus Services Bill, which is due to enter Report Stage in the House of Lords later this month. I hope that through this proposal and other efforts we can make travelling using public transport a safer and less distressing experience for those with sight loss.”