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Bus drivers learn how to deal with blind passengers
4:02pm Wednesday 11th December 2013 in News
BUS drivers in Bury have been given a first-hand insight into the challenges faced by blind and partially sighted people when using public transport.
Six members from Bury Blind Society and up to seven staff from bus operator First took part in an awareness day at the company’s depot in Rochdale Road.
The event was a collaboration between the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), First Bus and the Bury Blind Society.
Currently, the RNIB is running a bus campaign, calling on operators to remember one simple principle: “Stop for me, speak to me.”
A recent RNIB survey of blind and partially sighted people revealed that: n nine in 10 people with sight loss cannot see an approaching bus in time to halt it, while eight in 10 say they miss the bus they want n six in 10 said buses which stopped away from the official stop caused them to often miss their bus or to step off into hazards, such as bins and lamp posts.
During the event in Bury, drivers took part in tasks, such as trying to board a bus and paying for a ticket, without the use of their sight.
Lindsay Armstrong, RNIB regional campaigns officer for the North West, visited Bury’s bus depot for the event and said there were two main aims: “To get drivers and staff from First to understand the needs of blind and partially sighted passengers.
“Then, it was for those attending to talk to staff about their needs and to become more confident boarding a bus which was static, and to have the chance to explore and become familiar with different types of vehicles in a much safer environment. I think both sides learned something from the event.
“We are excited to be working with First Bus in Bury to build drivers’ awareness of the difficulties faced by blind and partially sighted passengers, which will help make their journeys easier and, therefore, more enjoyable in the long term.”
Dave Brotheridge, operations manager for First in Bury, added: “This awareness day was part of our training for drivers and will further enhance their customer service skills to deal with many types of situations they may encounter when in their jobs."
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