Bus drivers see vehicles as never before

Martin Hancock pictured with Ms Zubeda Subedar and Mr Iftkhar Shaik

Action for Blind People have challenged a National Express West Midlands Director and drivers to experience the bus network in their shoes.

National Express West Midlands Development Director Martin Hancock and drivers encountered the challenges faced daily by visually impaired bus users, as Action for Blind People provided them with glasses replicating the effects of Cataract, Diabetic Retinopathy and Glaucoma.

The charity teamed up with the regional bus company to host a ‘Try It’ day for visually impaired and blind people across the region.

The day aimed to give blind and partially sighted people more confidence when travelling by bus, allowing them time to become acclimatised with the location of handles, seats and the driver.

Following the event Martin Hancock sat down with regular blind bus passengers to discuss first hand the issues they encounter on National Express West Midlands services, such as finding the smartcard reader or an available seat and what the company can do to address these.

National Express West Midlands also sampled new audio visual technology to ensure their investment is meeting the needs of the customers who rely on it most.

Martin Hancock, Development Director at National Express West Midlands said:
“Events like this allow us to hear our customers concerns first hand and discuss ways we can work together to make things better. Today I encountered our services as many of our customers do, it was a truly invaluable experience and I will ensure that it shapes all elements of our customer service in the future.”

Jen Morton, Action for Blind People’s Travel and Shopping Buddy Project Coordinator, said:
“We’re grateful for National Express West Midlands commitment in making bus travel accessible for visually impaired people. If you’re blind or partially sighted, you rely on public transport, so it’s essential that you’re confident in the layout of vehicles and that you can trust the knowledge and understanding of drivers.”

Cllr Judith Rowley Centro’s lead member for green and accessible transport said:
“It is important to make public transport as accessible as possible for people across the region and the feedback from this event will help us find ways to improve travel for many of our customers.”

Street view looking through cataract glasses.

Published 11th September 2012