FIRST GLASGOW TEAM UP WITH GUIDE DOGS SCOTLAND TO ADDRESS CHALLENGES FACING VISUALLY IMPAIRED PASSENGERS
First Glasgow hosted national charity Guide Dogs Scotland for a driver awareness session in a bid to give vision-impaired passengers more confidence to use their local bus services.
Charity ambassador and First Bus customer, Laura Bradley, had previously raised concerns with the Blantyre operations team about the challenges she faced in accessing her local bus services.
Laura was invited to come and speak with drivers and the operations team to address her concerns and gain an understanding of the measures in place for visually impaired passengers.
The Guide Dog Scotland team were informed of the recent rollout of new audio/visual next stop announcements for passengers across a number of services across the Glasgow and Lanarkshire network with more to come over the coming months.
Colin Mckay, Blantyre Depot Operations Manager for First Glasgow, said: “It was a pleasure to host Laura and Ryan from Guide Dogs Scotland, and we are delighted to report that Laura now has a lot more confidence and seen a vast improvement in accessibility of services in her local area.
“We provide all our staff with the very latest training on how to accommodate and make provisions for visually impaired customers and we have worked hard to remind drivers of their responsibilities through our work with Laura.
“The roll out of new audio/visual next stop announcements across a number of local services will help improve the customer experience even further and improve the accessibility options for all passengers with visual impairments.”
Laura Bradley, Guide Dog Owner and Operations Support Co-ordinator at Guide Dogs Scotland, commented: “It’s essential to raise awareness about how important it is for drivers to look out for people with vision impairment. For me personally, I can’t see the bus or the service number, so I rely on the driver to see my guide dog and to stop accordingly.
“The meeting was productive as it gave me the chance to speak directly to drivers and let them know about the impact buses driving past can have. Before having a guide dog, I was very anxious about using buses. Now that I have Autumn, who has given me so much independence, it’s so important that transport services are accessible for us to be able to live our lives.”
Ryan Kyle, Communications Officer, Guide Dogs Scotland added: “Guide Dogs Scotland is pleased to be working in partnership with First Bus and welcome their plans to roll out audio announcements on more routes. We hope Laura’s experience of access issues will leave a lasting impact on drivers, who play a vital part in ensuring their service is fully accessible to people with vision impairment.”