Detail of audio visual announcements revealed

Audio visual announcements on buses took a step closer this month, as Thomas Pocklington Trust met with the Real-Time Information Group to discuss the roll-out of audio-visual announcements on buses.

At the meeting, we discussed the new accessibility improvements for buses, including standards for accessible information, and grants for transport operators.

This forms part of the Sight Loss Council-led #MakeBusesAccessible campaign. Last year the campaign succeeded with the Government agreeing to bring forward the Accessible Information Regulations. We also secured a commitment to increase the budget available to small operators to help with the cost.

Many transport operators and authorities have already taken steps to provide audio-visual announcements. However over half of vehicles remain unequipped to provide it. New regulations state that audio-visual announcements must:

  • show route information, stopping place and diversion information
  • provide Hearing Loop coverage in the disabled seating area
  • be loud enough to be heard over background level.

Operators are free to choose how audible information is generated. That includes whether announcements are pre-recorded, whether text-to-speech software is used to generate them automatically, or whether the driver will announce them manually.

Sight Loss Councils will be working with Local Transport Authorities and transport providers. We will work to ensure that the new announcements offer the improvement in accessibility that blind and partially sighted people need to ensure safe and independent travel.

Thomas Pocklington Trust is also working with the Real-Time Information Group. They will provide the voice of lived experience to a series of webinars aimed at transport professionals. This is to raise awareness of the accessibility needs of blind and partially sighted passengers.

For more information about the regulations, and on how to apply for the grant, you can download the Real Time Information Group’s briefing note below.

Download the RTIG briefing note here

Publication date: 22 January 2024

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