“Debbie Abrahams is right to say that people with disabilities need practical measures to support them into work, and this is one of the reasons why here at Guide Dogs we’re campaigning to make audio visual (AV) next stop and final destination announcement systems compulsory on all new buses.
Making transport accessible is vital in enabling people to reach the workplace; according to a 2013 Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) survey 37% of disabled respondents said that inaccessible transport was a barrier to work.
People with sight loss are particularly reliant on public transport to enable them to work, but seven out of ten blind or partially sighted bus passengers have missed their stop due to not knowing where they were, making bus travel difficult, stressful and potentially dangerous. The fear of this situation can be enough to put people off travelling altogether.
Further DWP figures released only yesterday found that less than half of disabled people of working age who report difficulty seeing as their main health problem are in employment; one of the lowest rates of employment of any disabled group.
Accessible buses with AV can play a crucial role in enabling many of the two million people in the UK with incurable sight loss to travel independently and with confidence, as well as benefitting tourists and infrequent bus users.
AV has been compulsory on all new trains since 1998, but the uptake in the bus sector where it is voluntary has been low, with only 19% of buses are fitted with AV across the UK nationwide, and the majority of these are in London. With AV costing less than 1% of the price of a bus, this is an affordable policy with significant economic and social value.”