First York partners with local charity to improve travel experience for visually impaired
First York bus drivers are learning first-hand how to provide an improved on-board experience for blind or partially sighted customers by taking part in exercises to experience what it’s like to be on board a bus with limited or no vision.
To help raise awareness of what passengers with sight loss experience when they board a bus, a “swap with me” event was planned for First York drivers with members of the York Blind and Partially Sighted Society (YBPSS). The exercise involved drivers wearing SIM SPECS, which help to simulate different types of sight loss. Drivers were then asked to show a bus pass and to find a seat on board the vehicle.
Training is provided to all bus drivers to help ensure they can provide the best possible experience for passengers with sight loss, however passengers are also being asked to remember to stay seated until the bus has come to a stop.
Speaking about the exercise and partnership with YBPSS, Rachel Benn, Head of Operations at First York, said: “Following a meeting with members of the YBPSS, we decided to hold an exercise with some of our drivers, so that they can better understand what more they can do to assist partially sighted passengers. Our drivers found the exercise very useful and we now want to roll this out with all drivers across First York. Alongside this exercise, we also regularly remind our drivers of the importance of stopping for blind and partially sighted people waiting at a bus stop and to speak to those boarding the bus.”
Caroline Robertson, Service Manager for YBPSS, said: “Members of YBPSS were pleased to be invited to take part in the “Swap with Me” event and felt it was a very worthwhile exercise. We would very much like to see this rolled out to all drivers and appreciate the work being done by First York in partnership with YBPSS to raise awareness of what it is like to live with sight loss.”