Delivering the petition. From left: Gill Southgate and guide dog Yaz, Cynthia Easeman and guide dog Olivia, and Genene Henshaw and guide dog Susan.

Delivering the petition. From left:Gill Southgate and guide dog Yaz, Cynthia Easeman and guide dog Olivia, and Genene Henshaw and guide dog Susan.

Nearly 10,000 people have shown their support for Guide Dogs’ Talking Buses campaign by signing a petition asking the Government to ensure that all new buses have audio-visual (AV) announcements. This vital technology announces the next stop and final destination details for passengers, helping people with sight loss to use buses confidently, safe in the knowledge that they can get off at their intended stop independently.

The petition, which is being delivered to Downing Street today,  was started by Guide Dogs following a survey by the charity which revealed that people who are blind and partially sighted are being let down by the lack of AV technology on board buses. The survey, of 2,009 people including 818 blind or partially sighted respondents, showed:
·         Two thirds (65%) of passengers who were blind or partially sighted who responded to the survey have missed their stop at least once in the last six months.
·         73% of respondents said none of their local bus services had on-board AV announcements.
·         Only 14% of disabled people who completed the survey said bus drivers always responded appropriately to their needs as a disabled passenger.
The full details of the survey results have today been published in a report by Guide Dogs called ‘Destination Unknown’.
James White, Guide Dogs’ Campaigns Manager, said: “Our Destination Unknown report shows that the bus network isn’t fit for purpose for passengers with sight loss. While there are pockets of good practice, too many people are travelling with uncertainty due to the lack of this vital technology in many parts of the UK.
“For someone who is blind or partially sighted, missing their bus stop can be a truly terrifying experience because they can end up in an unfamiliar area with no-one to help them. I’m sure I don’t have to spell out the dangerous situations they can find themselves in as a result.
“We hope that the Government takes note of the strength of feeling shown by the petition we are handing in today and acts to ensure all buses in the UK are Talking Buses.”