Blind and partially sighted bus users in Oxford received a huge boost following the installation of on-board audio-visual ‘next stop’ information on certain city buses.
The technology has been rolled out across half of Oxford Bus Company’s fleet to help accessibility for those who might otherwise be put off using public transport.
The move towards ‘talking buses’ has been welcomed by charity group Guide Dogs, which has campaigned for years to have this form of aid compulsory on all buses across the UK.
Clive Wood, community engagement officer for the region, said: “Having more buses around the city that have on-board audio information is fantastic news for blind and partially sighted people. This technology makes independent travel for people with sight loss so much easier and less stressful.”
He added: “We hope that more bus operators across the UK will follow Oxford Bus Company by introducing audio-visual information systems on buses.”
The charity’s campaign took a big step forward late last year when the government made an amendment to the Bus Services Bill to require all buses to provide accessible next stop and final destination information for people with visual impairments.
The Bill is due to become law later this year.
At the launch last week, Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran took park in a blindfold walk to experience accessing a bus with sight loss.
Phil Southall, managing director of the bus firm, said: “We are fully committed to making our services as accessible as possible for all of our passengers and support the Guide Dogs campaign.”
He added: “Half of our bus fleet, some 55 buses, are now fully equipped with audio-visual technology that ensures our visually impaired passengers receive additional support during their journeys.”