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MPs on board Talking Buses Campaign

10 Jan 2014

Group of people with guide dog outside the Houses of ParliamentMP's yesterday showed they were on board with Guide Dogs' Talking Buses campaign.

At a well-attended debate in Westminster Hall, around 20 MPs spoke out in favour of audio visual (AV) technology on buses, which would benefit all passengers, not just those with sight loss.

A report by the Transport Select Committee in Autumn 2013 recommended that all new buses should have AV, and that it should be fitted on all buses over the next ten years. But so far the Government has failed to act.

Chair of the Committee Louise Ellman MP told Transport Minister Robert Goodwill yesterday: "It’s very clear that the lack of practical information deters many people, including those with visual impairment, from using buses."

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright said that calls for AV were "eminently sensible" and the Government's refusal to make it mandatory was "complacent, even dismissive." Middlesborough MP Andy McDonald told the debate he had taken a blindfolded bus journey with his local Guide Dogs Mobility Team and said: "Without sight it is extremely unsettling and accessing public transport can be a very difficult experience. AV would also help the elderly and those with special needs could strike out more independently with this information."

MPs cited Guide Dogs’ 2013 Road to Nowhere report which showed 89% of blind and partially sighted passengers have missed their stop because of a lack of AV and 63% said they had been put off going out by bus. A report by leading passenger transport specialists the TAS Partnership found it costs just £2,100 to install AV on a single decker or £2,550 on a double decker bus.

Guide Dogs Campaigns Manager James White said: "Thanks to our fantastic campaigners, there was a good turnout of MPs to help make our case to the Minister and we are grateful to all those who spoke out on AV. We will keep up the pressure on the Government to make all buses talking buses and help end the isolation of many people with sight loss."

Please help us build on the success of yesterday's debate and write to your MP now.