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Access to transport for people with disabilities: staff assistance web forum 

Transport Committee

Thank you very much for taking the time to submit your views to the Transport Committee. We used your submission, along with over 300 others from members of the public, to help inform the questions we put to Norman Baker MP on 3 June 2013.

The Committee will now prepare a report for publication with recommendations for improving access to transport. The report will be informed by the written and oral evidence we received and the web forum. The Government is required to issue a written response to our recommendations within two months. Both our report and the Government's response will be published on our website.

Based on your experience, how aware are transport staff of the needs of people with different impairments including 'hidden or less visible disability'?

Is your experience based on assistance you have booked, or on general assistance by transport staff, or both? Is there a different level of awareness between staff whose role is to provide assistance and general transport staff?

Do you have examples of good practice to share? Do you have any suggestions to improve staff assistance through training, or other methods of raising awareness among transport staff?

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96 Contributions (since 01 May 2013)
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Total results 96 (page 1 of 10)

Janet Guest

07 June 2013 at 10:35

My Daughter is registered blind it would help immensley if public transport announced the bus stops, she can travel on some routes where she has had mobility training, but she has to concentrate for the whole bus journey.

Mark Smith

05 June 2013 at 16:57

I've generally always found staff at train stations very helpful and as long as assistance one requires is booked in advance it usually works well.

Bill Norman

04 June 2013 at 13:41

No staff are not aware of this and this may be down to • Not enough time to explore different disabilities during training • An over reliance on e learning • An inconsistent approach to refresher training • A secretive attitude to the content of current training delivered Actual local examples that I am aware of relating to people with visual impairment people with ABI and people with mobility problems Therefore • There needs to be a pan disability viewpoint on what should be in training • There should be national Training standards defined as part of Fulfilling Potential’s implementation programme but don't be prescriptive about detailed delivery. Otherwise , different organisations could lose their individual approach identity and unique strengths to the content and delivery of training But you can and should define some cornerstones i.e. • Training must at least be in part face to face • Must be led by people themselves • Whichever disability they have will make the most impact so remember this must be balanced with references to others in training • People with profound disabilities needs should be covered • People with more than one disability need to be covered also • It must include SEVERAL example of hidden disabilities covering the range • Must include gradations of disability - you are not just blind or you're not being the obvious example • Use technology to demonstrate what these mean e.g. Vision Sim app • Make a requirement that operators MUST publish disability training specifications for public scrutiny • However in terms of interaction with the operators and passengers we must emphasise human interface and not over reliance on technology • Ideally needs a different “swap with me “ type approach to a different disaibility each year as part of refresher training However all of the above must go alongside a charter of the responsibilities and expectation from disabled passengers Think about hate crime -People do not feel are on buses especially threat of hate crime for people with learning disabilities .Significant work has been undertaken here by the Learning Disability Partnership Board’s Safety and Quality group and in particular through our Community Safety ARCH team. This has secured commitment from the bus companies to include a hate crime “what needs to be done “ must do checklist as part of annual driver refresher training alongside publicising this to all stakeholders

David Froggat

04 June 2013 at 11:39

Driver training by bus companies should be mandatory, especially in the following instances: At request stops, buses often pass by despite it being obvious that the passenger cannot see: i.e. using a white cane or accompanied by a guide dog. The bus should not move until the blind passenger has found a seat. Drivers should tell the passenger the number or route of the bus, but rarely do so. Bus drivers often forget or refuse to advise a blind passenger when their stop is reached. Drivers should inform a blind passenger of a deviation from the normal route ie.g. due to road works.

Jane Cockram

03 June 2013 at 14:58

As a registered blind person with a guide dog my biggest worry is attempting to travel by bus. Should I be fortunate enough to have help from the public and actually board the correct bus, I then cannot see the bus stop I require so ask the bus driver to let me know when I have arrived. Nine times out of ten they do not remember to do so. I'm sure if you spent one week trying to manage as visually impaired people do you would quickly instigate Talking Buses and Bus Stops. Please consider the stress we live under on a daily basis.


03 June 2013 at 14:57

With the exception of Lothian Buses where staff clearly receive disability awareness training, staff assistance is very poor. Other company’s drivers frequently do not pull the bus in to the kerb, lower the step, or shout the number/ destination of the bus or announce my desired stop when I have asked them to tell me when the bus is approaching it. Drivers failing to advise me when the bus has been approaching my stop resulted in me missing doctors appointments and being late for work. It has also involved me alighting in unfamiliar surroundings and having to find my way back to where I intended to alight.

Victor Cheal

03 June 2013 at 14:53

As a registered blind person and living with my partenre who is very parshualey sighted with guide dogs, the bus serveice that runs from South Molton to Barnstable is most vital for are needs as our small Town has limited shopping, this service has been reduced from four buses a day to just two This service is most important to us and others. AV announcements would be most valued in our community as there is a small amount of visualley impeard people living here in South Molton and can be a strain and worry if the bus destination should be missed, again this service would be greatfully received as not to put pressure on the driver. I must admit the drivers here in South Molton are very conciderate towards blind people and are very helpful, the hydrolic ramps are of great use as far as to say the guide dog walks up the ramp instead of looking for steps. The bus company has considered all disabilities.

Tony Averis

03 June 2013 at 14:34

Having the opportunity to prebook assistance in travelling throughout a journey (when it works) is reassuring. I do , sometimes, wonder that when I am booking train tickets (for myself and my Guide Dog), that when speaking to a customer service operative of a train provider, that they truly understand what an assistance dog is and does. Many of the train operators use telephone support systems based outside of the UK. I would suggest that more awareness training, of all disabilities, should be commonplace and an embedded part of their training, reinforced by regular training for those who lack the understanding of disabilities. Thank you for giving me, and all disabled travellers the opportunity of putting forward our views of transport in the UK. Transport for London is an example of good practise, which should be mirrored all around the UK.

Carole Holmes

03 June 2013 at 14:30

Hello, my name is Carole Holmes MBE. I have been a guide dog owner for 24 years and I live in Blackpool. I have regularly used the local buses as I'm always "out and about". The problems I have locally are stops which are used by more than one busline. The bus I need some times parks quite far into the road and I have to step off the kerb and check the number with alighting passengers. It would be a great help if the driver shouted the number to me and them I can encourage my dog to follow the voice and find the door. Most of my buses are accessible to wheelchair users, but unfortunately they don't pull up to the kerb and I have to hurriedly check to see if I need to walk off a kerb before mounting the bus. The drivers who recognise me and my dog are extremely helpful and even remember the stops I use. Sometimes the rest of the drivers forget to shout my stop and it is a real struggle for me to follow a route back to my regular bus stop. Also I have fallen on a bus when the driver set off with a jerk before I was seated. My other problem at my regular stops is the positioning of the bus stop sign. I can't understand why these posts are not sited up against the shelter. All in all, my life would be very boring if I didn't have access to local transport, but I hope that stop announcements are introduced in Blackpool. It would be very helpful for all the visitors to Blackpool. Our new tram system has this system and it is marvellous.

Harold Smith

03 June 2013 at 14:28

My name is Harold Smith and I reside in Cadishead in Salford. I have been totally blind for the last 40years and I have a Guide Dog. I have three issues I wish to be addressed at the forthcoming Select Committee meeting. Firstly, Knowing the bus service you require, could the driver state the number of the service when the bus door opens, passengers with site loss do not always have a white cane or guide dog. When entering the bus, showing your pass to the driver is sometimes sufficient, but some drivers insist that the pass is swiped across a machine, it would be most helpful if the driver could be of assistance with this. Secondly, knowing where to get off, asking the driver to let you know when you reach your destination does not always happen, the driver may be in very busy traffic or he has to cope with a large number of passengers when your stop comes up and he forgets. The answer to this is to have an audio system broadcasting the name of the next stop as it approaches it. This is done on the train services and on the Manchester Metro service, so why not on the busses? Thirdly, when entering the bus, finding a seat can take a little time and in a lot of cases the bus moves off. This can be quite disorientating as you have to find a handhold very quickly so as not to fall. Could it be stressed to the driver not to move off till all passengers are seated. Also when you reach your destination, you have to keep a handhold until the bus comes to a stop, so by the time you reach the door new passengers are coming on to the bus and you have to push past them to get off. It would be most helpful if the driver could delay passengers getting on the bus until all passengers who have reached their destination have got off. If all these issues are addressed, it would not only assist people with sight loss, it would help young mothers with buggies and toddlers, wheelchair users and ambulant disabled, quite a range of people.

Total results 96 (page 1 of 10)