Blind people to get behind the wheel of buses

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A group of blind and partially sighted people will swap places with bus drivers in Milton Keynes next week to demonstrate the barriers they face when travelling on buses.

The event is part of the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s bus campaign which is calling on bus operators to remember to watch out for and assist those who are visually impaired.

A recent RNIB survey of blind and partially sighted people revealed a number of barriers, including that nine in 10 people with sight loss cannot see an approaching bus in time to hail it, and that eight in 10 people with sight loss say they miss the bus they want as a result.

Six out of 10 people said buses which stopped away from the official bus stop caused them to often miss their bus or step off the bus into hazards such as bins and lampposts.

And over half of respondents said they had difficulty obtaining spoken information from the driver such as the bus number and destination.

Bus drivers from Arriva, along with local blind and partially sighted people, will attend the event on Friday, October 4 from 10am to 12pm.

Eleanor Bullimore, RNIB Regional Campaigns Officer for the South East, said: “Catching a bus should not be a sight test. Local bus travel is a lifeline, providing an important means of transport within the community for those who are not able to drive.

“Buses are often the only affordable way to travel independently to work, appointments or to visit friends and family.

“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.”

Stuart Winston from Arriva added: “We are looking forward to the event and to working with RNIB. It will be a great opportunity for our staff to learn more about the challenges that customers with sight loss face.”