Our #MakeTransportAccessible campaign fights to ensure blind and partially sighted people are able to rely on accessible public transport to travel independently and safely.
Blind and partially sighted people rely on a range of transport solutions to get around independently. These include public transport such as buses, trains, trams and light rail services, as well as private transport such as taxis and private hire vehicles (PHV).
All public transport providers have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make their services accessible. Despite this – and blind and partially sighted people’s reliance on their services – a lack of accessibility significantly hampers the ability and confidence of blind and partially sighted people to use these services.
We’ve made a Freedom of Information request to the Department for Transport on funding streams for accessibility improvements to public transport.
The response shows that blind and partially sighted people have been waiting five years for government to introduce regulations that require all bus service operators to implement audio visual announcements, and almost three years for the government to allocate any of the £2m it announced to help bus operators install audio visual announcements.
Our colleagues at Thomas Pocklington Trust have written to the Minister for Transport, Grant Shapps, asking him to get on with the job and speed up audio visual provision.
We’re asking you to write to your MP using our quick and simple form, asking them to raise the issue of audio visual announcements on buses in the House of Commons and with the Government.
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Buses are the most commonly used type of public transport by people with mobility difficulty. We’re tackling a range of issues that blind and partially sighted people face when accessing bus services.
Blind and partially sighted people also rely heavily on taxis to provide independent transport but these are more expensive compared to public transport. There is also a lack of understanding and awareness amongst many taxi drivers, particularly around the legal requirement to accept guide dogs in the vehicle. Sight Loss Councils across the country have been working with local taxi providers to improve driver training and raise awareness of how to support blind and partially sighted people.
We know blind and partially sighted people face multiple accessibility issues when using train services. As a result train-use among blind and partially sighted people is low. We’re campaigning to open up the rail network – and Britain – to #MakeTransportAccessible for everyone.
Modern technology potentially offers new opportunities to make travelling independently easier for blind and partially sighted people. We have tested a number of apps and are working to ensure new technology works for blind and partially sighted people by removing accessibility issues, not imposing new ones.