Guide Dogs working together with Brighton and Hove bus and coach company.

Guide Dog owner standing in front of a bus After many bad experiences trying to travel independently on public transport a local Guide dog owner decided enough was enough and something had to be done to improve the situation.

A meeting was arranged with the bus company and it was agreed that things had to improve so that blind and partially sighted people would be able to use buses with confidence, the outcome of that meeting was that a training day would be set up so that staff from the bus company would be able to see and learn first-hand just what it is like for blind and partially sighted people trying to use the buses in and around the city.

Of course one of Guide dogs national campaigns is to have all buses “Talking”.

The date was set and 6th October 2014, was to be the training day as this date also coincided with Guide dog week.

The training day was attended by over 30 staff from the managing director Martin Harris, to driver trainers, drivers, customer service and staff from the travel shop. The Mayor also attended.

The training included blindfold challenges, sighted guiding, getting on and off buses using long white canes and witnessing how navigating getting on and off buses using guide dogs was demonstrated.

That day not only a huge success was just the start of a partnership between the bus company and the local guide dog branch and the most important thing to come from that training day was the commitment from the bus company that all of their buses would become talking buses by the end of 2015.

Since that day the bus company have supported the local guide dog branch in so many ways from providing transport to the O2 for a fundraising event, donating raffle prizes and sponsoring a “flash mob” which was staged during guide dog week 2015.

As promised by November 2015 we are pleased to announce that Brighton and Hove Bus Company have fulfilled their commitment and all of their buses are now “talking “buses.

The partnership has gone from strength to strength with employees undertaking My Guide training, the training of the driver trainers so that they can train more drivers.

The local branch have also helped with the design and promotion of the Helping hand card scheme and are also consulted regarding any issues to do with accessible travel such as attending a meeting with the chamber of commerce, the Safe Havens scheme a place where people can go to if they are in distress or need help.

Future projects will include a training video, help with making their website easier to use for blind and partially sighted people.

This is one bus company that has not only ticked all the boxes regarding talking buses but have now become great supporters of the local Guide dog branch and in turn members of the branch are now helping to continually improve the travel experience for blind and partially sighted people across the city.

​They take their responsibility seriously not just with Guide Dogs but with other charities in the community.

They negotiate with other agencies to ensure that services are maintained and improved and are currently exploring how this can be done with the introduction of Apps to assist their customers.

They lobby the local council to make sure funding is kept to assist with ongoing developments with local bus stops in the region and will ensure that these are improved and increased as necessary or required, Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company are not looking for publicity or a nice picture in the press they are dedicated to living up to their tag line of Accessible travel for everyone and are always willing to hear how best they can serve their local community as well as promoting, help and assisting their local Guide Dogs Fundraising Branch.


Did you know?

Red Double Decker Bus
Two thirds (65%) of blind and partially sighted bus passengers have missed their stop in the last six months. If you would like more information about our Talking Buses campaign.