Government makes audio-visual announcement
Accessible buses are a huge part of the transport infrastructure used by blind and partially sighted people. 69% of public transport journeys in Great Britain were made on local buses in the financial year ending 2021. They are the most heavily used public transport mode by people with mobility difficulty.
Blind and partially sighted people can face a range of challenges accessing bus services, including having to navigate unfamiliar layouts whilst the bus is travelling. That’s why the installation of audio-visual announcements on buses has been a key focus of our Make transport Accessible Campaign. Last year our campaign secured a commitment from Government to implement the Accessible Information Regulations by the end of 2022. Unfortunately, political changes meant the Government didn’t keep that commitment.
However, the Department for Transport has now announced that they will make audio visual (AV) announcements on buses mandatory by 2026. The AV aids will include ensuring audio is available through induction loop systems, and all new vehicles introduced after October 2024 must also include visible information which can be seen by a wheelchair user when travelling in a rearward facing wheelchair space.
The government is also providing £4.65 million in funding for the smallest bus and coach companies, and the changes will be implemented gradually, with almost all vehicles required to comply by October 2026. We will continue to work with the Department for Transport, Local Transport Authorities, the bus sector and sector partners to ensure that this is the first step in making buses more accessible, not the last.
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.
Publication date: 31 March 2023