MSPs urged to make buses more accessible

Blind person at bus stop (1)

RNIB Scotland calls for public transport to be easier for disabled people. 

8th October 2019 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

A “minor but key” amendment to the Scottish Government's Transport Bill could help make bus travel more accessible to blind and partially sighted people, a charity has said.

The amendment, tabled by Labour MSP Colin Smyth, calls for public grants to be restricted to bus operators who ensure that drivers receive disability awareness training every two years.

It would also compel operators to make service information available in accessible formats such as large print and braille.

Sight loss charity RNIB Scotland is calling on MSPs from all parties to support the amendment when the bill goes to vote tomorrow.

Sandra Wilson, RNIB Scotland chair, said: “Bus travel can be a vital method of transport for blind and partially sighted people, connecting people to their work, family and friends when driving simply isn’t an option.

"However, people with sight loss frequently tell us that buses are inaccessible to them. When planning a journey, it can be difficult or impossible to read timetabling information which is often in minute print.

“We want bus travel to be easier for all people with a disability, which is why RNIB Scotland is supporting this amendment to the Transport Bill (Scotland). A bus service more aware of their needs would make travel more accessible.

"We are urging all MSPs to vote for this amendment which could nail down the rights of people with a disability to use bus services equitably."

“Bus travel should be open to all," added Mr Smyth, an MSP for South of Scotland, "but after talking with RNIB Scotland it is clear that it can be simply inaccessible to people with sight loss.

“If it passes, amendment 154 will improve the provision of information in formats such as braille and large print and increase the frequency of disability training, making bus drivers more aware of the needs of their disabled passengers. I think that these are issues that colleagues from across the chamber should be able to get behind.”