Meet the Buses in Greater Manchester
Blind and partially sighted Greater Manchester residents were invited to a public event to walk through the layout of different bus styles, speak to drivers and training managers about their experiences and discuss how changes can be made to improve the accessibility of buses in Greater Manchester.
Greater Manchester Sight Loss Council, which advocates for the needs of blind people partnered with Stagecoach and RNIB to deliver the event on Wednesday 30th March 2022.
Bus drivers, trainers and staff had the chance to try various Simulation Spectacles (Sim Specs), which simulate the different sight conditions many visually impaired passengers have.
We spoke to Stagecoach bus driver, Peter and SLC member, Abu-bakr about the event, watch below!
RNIB Regional Campaigns Officer for the North West, Terri Balon said:
“It is important that bus operators such as Stagecoach understand the barriers that blind and partially sighted people face when travelling.
“This event allows staff to experience some of these challenges first-hand which we hope will lead to improved experiences for people with sight loss.”
Kelly Barton, Engagement Manager, for Greater Manchester Sight Loss Council said:
“Public transport is such a vital service to blind and partially sighted people and we are very pleased to be working with Stagecoach and RNIB to enhance the awareness of their drivers and other staff.
“The past two years have been exceptionally challenging for bus providers and blind and partially sighted people and so it is extremely encouraging that we are able to deliver this event together.”
Greater Manchester Sight Loss Council is part of a network of councils across the country working to influence positive change. Part of their work is focused on improving access to transport, hospitality settings, pavements and roads, arts and entertainment venues.
Anthony Gough, GM Sight Loss Council member, said:
“I have really enjoyed today’s event. It was a great opportunity to talk to the bus drivers and get them to understand the issues that we face. I felt it was particularly important to explain to them about the different types of canes that blind and partially sighted people use as many of them wouldn’t necessarily know about this.”
Mary Gilbertson, GM Sight Loss Council member, said:
“It has been really useful having this opportunity to talk to bus drivers today and they seemed really receptive to listening. I would like to get involved in more events like this as they are really positive.”
Stagecoach Operations Manager, Viv Stephenson said:
“My colleagues and I found the session valuable and extremely enlightening. I’ve made some notes of what we discussed, and we’ll use this to develop our Disability Awareness Training. I was particularly moved by Peter’s explanation of his experiences and his aspiration that our drivers think about hidden disabilities and adopt the approach that everyone has circumstances that mean they require a little extra consideration.”
We work with local authorities to offer visual impairment awareness sessions, blindfold walks and a range of online resources to make local communities more inclusive to everyone.