New report highlights barriers to accessing transport

Sight Loss Councils (SLC) and Thomas Pocklington Trust have launched a report that highlights the challenges blind and partially sighted (BPS) people face accessing transport.


#MakeTransportAccessible report – PDF

#MakeTransportAccessible report – Word


This year, SLCs across England conducted a mystery shopping exercise, which saw BPS passengers examine a range of issues across multiple transport providers.

The report combines these issues with responses from face-to-face and online surveys and open-source government data. These identify the key issues BPS people face when accessing the rail and bus networks across England.

A lady's legs are shown from the shin down, on the top step. Her long cane is shown on the first step down as she prepares to step down.

A lady approaching a set of stairs with her long cane


Highlights of the report


This report highlights a number of issues recurring across the bus network. These include:

  • Highly inaccessible bus stops, both in terms of design and a lack of real-time information. Nearly 30 per cent of people reported the accessibility of the bus stops they used were poor or very poor.
  • Passengers still rely on flagging down buses which, when combined with the lack of accessible timetables and irregular services, can lead to missed journeys. Nearly 20 per cent of our mystery shopper respondents reported it was ‘not easy at all’ for them to catch the right bus.
  • BPS passengers are still suffering a ‘bus route lottery’ of mixed driver standards.
  • The number of audio-visual announcements on buses remains low. Nearly 60 per cent of our mystery shoppers reported no audio-visual announcements on their bus service.


This report highlights a number of issues recurring across the rail network. These include:

  • Unmanned stations present BPS passengers with a significant additional accessibility issue. 100 per cent of respondents who used a station without a staffed ticket office reported an issue with their journey as a result.
  • Railway station design is largely inaccessible. Poor signage and frequent changes in layout make this significantly worse, with nearly a third of our mystery shopper respondents reported they found the station difficult to navigate.
  • Overcrowding on trains causes significant accessibility issues. This includes blocking of access to amenities for passengers and prevention or a delay in staff providing assistance.
  • A large number of BPS passengers are unable to access passenger assist. 30 per cent of participants did not use the service because it wasn’t available or they didn’t know it existed.

Thomas Pocklington Trust and Sight Loss Councils will use this report as the evidential basis of a campaign for change amongst transport stakeholders.

#MakeTransportAccessible report – PDF

#MakeTransportAccessible report – Word


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Passionate about making a difference? Want to influence positive change? Our Sight Loss Councils, led by blind and partially sighted volunteers, are recruiting new members. Join us today!

We use our lived experience to create positive change for others. Together, we tackle local issues and work with businesses and service providers to improve the accessibility of their services.

Join us to help ensure visually impaired people in your area can live the lives they want to lead.

You’ll get the opportunity to create positive change for others, meet like-minded people, have a voice, feel valued, receive training and learn or enhance your skills. If you’re interested in public speaking or honing your social media skills, there’s something for everyone to get involved in.

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Publication date: 01 November 2023

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