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Visually impaired bus passengers slam lack of driver training

28 Mar 2014

An overwhelming majority of people with sight loss say bus drivers lack the basic training to help them use services confidently.

In a survey by the charity Guide Dogs, 82% of people with sight loss said their experience with bus drivers has not improved or has got worse over the last year, and just 13% said that drivers always responded appropriately to their needs.

The survey of 1300 people showed that only a quarter of blind and partially sighted passengers felt drivers had received the right training to help them use the bus.

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John Whitfield from Angus said: “I am often met by ignorance, despite the fact I carry a red and white cane and when I present my concession pass, they expect me to know where to place it on the scanner which I can’t always locate. When the ticket comes out, often I don't where it will be coming out and by the time I collect it and set off for my seat, the driver will set off long before I can find a seat to sit down.  I have fallen because of this. The whole attitudinal experience of drivers needs to be addressed and I thoroughly recommend that all bus staff, from front line ticket collectors, conductors and drivers undertake training”

Guide Dogs is calling on the Government to ensure that all bus and drivers receive disability awareness training. This would bring the UK in line with the rest of the EU where this training is compulsory.

Campaigns Manager James White said: “It’s clear that bus companies are not moving fast enough on this issue and more must be done to help people with sight loss, for whom buses are a lifeline. We urge the Government to adopt the driver training regulations now for the benefit of all disabled bus passengers.”

A recent survey by ComRes showed that more than 80% of the public back the introduction of compulsory disability awareness training for bus drivers.


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