Road to Nowhere Report 2013

An investigation into the problems faced by bus passengers who are blind or partially sighted and the isolation caused.

Public transport plays a vital role in helping many people, including disabled people, to become more independent. Research has revealed that although disabled people travel less, they are more likely to use public transport. Lack of information once they are on board a bus deters the two million people who are blind or partially sighted in the United Kingdom from using buses. This is because they are unable to do things that many of us take for granted, such as being able to identify their stop.


Guide dog owner Joel and his guide dog Atkins stand near a bus stop as a bus drives away down the road.Guide Dogs conducted a survey entitled “Road to Nowhere” between October 2012 and March 2013 to uncover the extent of the problem. This was a follow up to the “Forgotten Passengers” survey conducted by the charity in 2012 which found that 89% of blind and partially sighted people had missed their stop because they didn’t know where they were on a journey.


Results

  • 70%of respondents who are blind or partially sighted said that travelling by bus causes them difficulty in visiting places.
  • 63%of blind and partially sighted people choose to stay at home on at least a couple of occasions each month rather than using the bus.
  • 81% of respondents who are blind or partially sighted said they felt unable to enjoy the freedom that others take for granted. Other common answers included anger and isolation.
  • Almost three quarters (72%) have been put off visiting friends and family, and almost two thirds (65%) have missed out on social occasions like birthday parties.
  • More than one in three (35%) said the prospect of travelling by bus had put them off attending doctors or hospital appointments.
  • 34% had been made late for work and 14% said it had prevented them from taking a job.

Recommendations

1. Government to amend the Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) and the PSVAR(Northern Ireland) to require audio visual next stop and final destination information systems on new buses across the UK. Supporters can write to their MP to help us campaign for this change.

2. Local transport authorities in England (in conjunction with local bus operators) applying to the Government “Better Bus Areas”fund to include provision for the cost of installing audio visual next stop and final destination information systems on their buses within their application . Applications must be submitted by June 21 2013. More information for local transport authorities is available online.

3. The Department for Transport to reassess urgently their recent decision to postpone the implementation of the driver training elements of EU regulation No. 181/2011 for up to four years.


For more information about these results you can download the full executive summary of the Road to Nowhere Report (PDF 1,459kb) or (Word 58kb). An executive summary specifically for Northern Ireland is also available for download (Word 41kb).




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Executive Summary

Cover of the Road to Nowhere report, a silhouette of a missing guide dog and its owner appears sat down on a crowded bus.

Download a full copy of the Road to Nowhere executive summary (PDF 1,459kb) or (Word 58kb). An executive summary specifically for Northern Ireland is also available to download (Word 41kb)