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Queens Speech Gives Hope to Bus Passengers with Sight Loss

28 May 2015

Yesterday, the Government announced that they intend to introduce greater powers for local authorities to take control of their bus networks. The charity Guide Dogs has welcomed this change, saying that it will be a valuable opportunity for authorities to make sure all new buses are safe and accessible for people with sight loss.

The announcement regarding the Buses Bill came as part of the Queens Speech where the Government set out laws they intend to introduce in the next year. Guide Dogs is campaigning for all new buses to include audio visual next stop and final destination announcements (AV) to enable people with sight loss to travel safely and with confidence.  AV is not compulsory on all new buses at the moment, despite research carried out by Guide Dogs in 2014 showing that 7 out of 10 bus passengers who are blind or partially sighted have been forgotten by a bus driver who was asked to notify them when their stop was reached.

Guide Dogs Campaigns Manager, James White, said: "Guide Dogs believes that audio visual technology is a crucial piece of equipment which must be included as part of all new buses. We want everyone who experiences sight loss to be able to live their lives the way they choose, and feel confident, independent and supported in the world.  Talking Buses would not only help passengers with sight loss enjoy a confident and worry-free journey but would help tourists and people on business who were new to the area to know where they were on the bus journey. It's a simple step which benefits many, and would also support a thriving local bus market."