I am going to write a blog about my views and experiences of bus drivers in Leeds. This will include my views and suggestions on how things could be improved.
I find life a daily struggle when using public transport. Especially when it comes to buses. I really feel that the approach to accessibility and awareness for drivers on buses needs to change. Or the approach and adaptation of equipment and understanding. There have been trials of audio equipment being installed in certain cities. London is a great example of this. There it works very well. I feel in Leeds, especially in South Leeds, it is essential that this service is rolled out. My idea is to get drivers to announce every stop on a route. It maybe hard to implement, but I do feel that if the will is there collectively, then anything is possible.
As a blind user of public transport, I use a cane to get about the city. I have thought of the idea of acquiring a guide dog. Although I do feel confident in using my cane, I do feel in some situations, having a guide dog would be more convenient. Of course there are GPS products and apps on the mobile phone to help and aid you to get around. I do use some of these aids. I particularly find one app that I use very useful. I feel a bit nervous to totally go down the road of using phone technology. I would rather prefer to have a driver announce each stop. It would make me more confident.
At the moment, I find the help and assistance I get off drivers not that great. There have been many instances where I have been dropped off at a wrong stop either before or possibly two stops after where I needed to be told when to get off. This is usually down to the driver forgetting to let me know when we would reach my destination. As a blind person or with a disability, I find that you have to remember so much information. This doesn’t help with concentration.
I am hoping to get involved in more campaigns to highlight this issue. I would imagine that visually impaired users in South Leeds may feel the same as I do. I also do try to deal with things in life as I have to try to manage as best as I can. The general public are more helpful than drivers. That is to say that not all drivers are unhelpful. I like to think positively about people in the bigger picture.
So in summary, I feel that certain organisations who deal with the blind and the main bus companies could liaise better with each other. I would prefer that technology was fitted on to all buses. It has always been said that the money isn’t simply around to fund such a project. All I will say is that if it can be done in London, then why not here in Leeds? The 21st century requires that accessibility is made to all.
I also feel that bus announcements would be good for people who can see or have other disabilities. Or simply for people who don’t use public transport on a regular basis. This is why I tend to use taxis a lot, as I feel more confident and less disorientated.
I wouldn’t want to say that it is all bad on the buses. We do have the bus pass so if you are disabled or a senior you are entitled to have one of these. So these are helpful as it entitles you to free transport all over England.
Hope you all enjoyed reading my blog and feel strong and confident and help each other.
This article was written by Sajid Ali using our Community Reporters website
4 Replies to “Leeds buses – the blind passenger’s experience”
I’ve been on buses in West Yorkshire which announce the next stop. Maybe a Wakefield service? I know the First buses don’t in South Leeds. I wonder what First Bus’s view is on getting this technology put on their buses? The costs will be small compared to their profits.
I’ve asked First Bus about this issue and will let you know when I get a reply.
You may have seen Sajid has now set up a facebook group ‘Talking Buses’ to campaign for drivers to announce stops. Please join the group and support him.
I did eventually get an answer from First Buses. It was like getting blood out of stone, but they said, “I can confirm that this is something we are looking at [putting the technology Sajid talks about in the article above onto buses], but are still in the very early stages of discussions.” They say they’ll make any announcements on their website, i.e. go away and stop bothering us! A very strange attitude to their customers indeed.
I’ve joined Sajid’s Facebook group – there are practical things people can do to support the campaign on there. Judging from the response above, I suspect that politely asking First Buses to make their buses more accessible won’t work!
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