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Next Stop Announcement App is “not the final destination”, say Guide Dogs campaigners

06 Mar 2015

A new smartphone app that provides audio and visual notifications to blind or partially sighted bus passengers does not go far enough to solve the problem, say Talking Buses campaigners from the Guide Dogs charity. The app is launched today (6 March) by two of the UK’s biggest bus groups, First and Arriva, in partnership with the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT).

The charity’s Talking Buses campaign calls for audio-visual next stop and final destination announcements (AV) to be installed on all new buses across the UK.

James White, Guide Dogs Campaign Manager, said:

“Guide Dogs believe technology has a crucial role to play in making transport more accessible for people who are blind or partially sighted. However, smartphone applications cannot replace the need for audio-visual next stop and final destination announcements (AV) to be installed on all new buses.

“Smartphone technology has its limitations – it’s still not an option for those who can’t afford it or aren’t able to use it. There are also areas across the country without signal, and smartphone battery life is notoriously short, which could leave someone stranded. Talking Buses is the only way to make bus travel easier for everyone.”

Buses play a vital role in helping people with a disability, including those with sight loss, to live more independent lives. But the worry of being unsure if you have caught the right bus, where you are on your journey, or when your stop is coming up, puts many people off using them. Audio-visual next stop and final destination announcements are therefore essential.

These views from Guide Dogs echo those of the Transport Minister, Baroness Kramer, who last year said: “We need to remember that 19% of families with at least one disabled member live in relative income poverty. For them, smartphones may be too expensive or difficult to use”.



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Nathan and guide dog Hudson waiting at a bus stop

To register your support for the Talking Buses campaign visit:
www.guidedogs.org.uk
/talkingbuses


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