Audio-visual announcement breakthrough
Following the Sight Loss Council-led Make Transport Accessible campaign on audio-visual announcements on buses, the Government has agreed to bring forward the timetable for their provision.
In May 2022, a Freedom of Information Request by Thomas Pocklington Trust revealed that blind and partially sighted people had been waiting:
- five years for government to introduce regulations that require all bus service operators to implement audio visual announcements
- almost three years for the government to allocate any of the £2m it announced to help bus operators install audio visual announcements.
In order to address this issue, Thomas Pocklington Trust Chief Executive Charles Colqhoun wrote to Transport Minister Grant Shapps, urging him to bring forward the timetable. Sight Loss Council supporters were asked to email their MPs, highlighting the much-needed improvements and asking them to raise these issues in the House.
Baroness Vere of Norbiton, Minister for Roads, Buses and Places, has written to Thomas Pocklington Trust. She announced that Accessible Information Regulations will now be implemented by the end of this year. In her letter, Baroness Vere wrote:
“Whilst precise timescales will depend upon Parliamentary time, I can confirm that we aim to lay Accessible Information Regulations by the end of 2022. We want passengers to begin benefitting from accessible information as soon as possible, and hope that our clear intention to legislate will encourage bus operators to invest in audible and visible information now rather than waiting for the Regulations to take effect.”
This represents a major commitment from Government to improve the accessibility of buses, the most heavily used form of transport for those with a mobility disability. We would like to thank our supporters for their work in raising this issue with MPs and ensuring it rose to prominence amongst a crowded political agenda.