Muscular Dystrophy UK praises new app function that allows wheelchair users to track accessible spaces on First buses
Muscular Dystrophy UK has praised First Bus for fast-tracking technology which will enable customers to view available wheelchair spaces on their local bus services in real-time.
The mobile app update, available now, enables customers across the UK to view the availability of wheelchair spaces across its fleet. This important innovation makes bus travel easier by tracking wheelchair capacity through an icon that moves across a virtual map. The update forms part of a fast-tracked investment in the app which has seen First become the first UK bus operator to not only allow bus passengers to live track the location of their next bus, but also show its capacity in ‘real time’.
Rob Burley, Director of Campaigns, Care and Support at Muscular Dystrophy UK, said:
“We’re pleased First Bus has committed to improving its services for wheelchair users. Disabled people use public transport to get to work or school, go shopping, or simply enjoy a day out with friends and family. But unfortunately we know experiences can be mixed because of physical and attitudinal barriers. We hope this new app feature will make it easier for disabled people to plan their journeys, and welcome the pledge made by First Bus to make its network more accessible.”
Giles Fearnley, MD of First Bus said:
“We are really proud to have been able to fast-track these most recent app updates to ensure safe, informed travel during these difficult times. Our buses provide an essential service for our customers and we are doing all we can to support them. The app update is aligned with our longstanding pledge to improve the bus experience for our disabled passengers.”
UK disability groups praise First Bus for new app innovation:
Stephen Brookes, Ambassador for Disability Rights UK
Sector Champion for the Minister for Disabled People:
“It’s good to see that First Bus are enabling their disabled customers who depend on wheelchairs to use real time technology to track and view space availability across the country by use of a mobile app. This means that disabled customers will be able to have more confidence in planning a journey. The information, which is based on driver recorded updates is simply expressed, clearly set out and easy to navigate.”
Steve Ledbrook, member of Muscular Dystrophy UK Trailblazers, said:
“we welcome this new function on the First Bus mobile app which will give wheelchair users more confidence when travelling by bus, especially as lockdown begins to ease. Bus travel is essential for so many wheelchair users and being able to plan journeys easily is an important part of ensuring good disabled access to public transport. This information via a mobile app will let wheelchair users know whether to wait for the next bus or to find an alternative route. We’d encourage wheelchair users to try out this new technology on the App when they are next travelling by bus.”
WECA - West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles:
“I’m delighted that First West of England has been able to introduce this new feature to their app so that disabled passengers can plan their journeys with confidence. I’m working to make the West of England’s transport network more accessible, so that it’s as easy as possible for people to choose to use public transport. That way we can get the region moving by cutting congestion, improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions. The West of England Combined Authority and our councils have already been investing in infrastructure to make this happen, and this new technology is a welcome addition to that. This is particularly important while our buses have capacity reduced due to social distancing, but will have a longer-term benefit, giving passengers real-time information to make it easier to get to their destination safely and efficiently.”
Emma Scott, Operations Manager at Disability Equality Scotland:
"We welcome the fast-tracking of the app which will give wheelchair users more confidence to use public transport during these uncertain times. By giving wheelchair users this information in an inclusive and accessible way, it allows them to make decisions about whether to wait or find an alternative route."
Scottish parliamentary motion:
Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western)(Scottish Liberal Democrats)
"Parliament commends the national bus operator, First Bus, on the launch of a new app function for wheelchair users; notes that the app will enable wheelchair users to track accessible spaces on their local bus services; welcomes the improvement that this will make to travel for wheelchair users; notes that First Bus is the first bus operator in the UK to allow customers to live track the location of their next bus and applauds the difference that this makes to local travel, and thanks First Bus for the measures that have been put in place to ensure the safety of all passengers during the COVID-19 pandemic" (S5M-22204) Supported by: Bill Kidd, Jeremy Balfour, Stuart McMillan, Miles Briggs
To find out more about what First Bus is doing to support customers during Covid-19, visit https://www.firstgroup.com/help-and-support/coronavirus-information