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Access to transport for people with disabilities: travel information 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.

How accessible or easy to use do you find travel information, including the provision of information about accessibility, routes, connections, timetables, delays and service alterations, and fares?

The Department for Transport recently launched its Transport Direct website for the UK, which includes a function for planning an accessible journey. If you have tried this how useful did you find it? Do you have any suggestions for improvement?

To what extent should we rely on technology (e.g. use of the internet and smartphone apps) to make journey planning easier in the future? How can we ensure everyone is able to benefit from this technology?

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84 Contributions (since 07 May 2013)
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Total results 84 (page 1 of 9)

Mark Smith

05 June 2013 at 16:56

I use the national telephone travel line for East Anglia when I need to know the times of buses, or use unfamiliar bus routes, and this works well. The local County Council have also kindly supplied the SMS text number for regular bus stops I use in Norwich and with the speech software on my mobile phone I can send a text message to find out when the next bus is due.

Bill Norman

04 June 2013 at 13:40

• Excellent easy read information for people with learning disabilities about travelling safe from Nexus developed with a local group • Use of Bridge Card throughout Tyne and Wear still well regarded some five years after introduction though how its is used in conjunction with card readers still needs to be resolved • Understanding of need of accessible information • Lack of a full involvement of a range of people with particular travel needs has been characteristic of the current Newcastle Central Station Redevelopment • Poor real time updating of information and often confusingly out of sync e.g. audible announcements may be more up to date than visual displays at Metro stations • Metro trains still have issues re audible announcements for stations on the trains themselves – when they are • No Smartphone apps developed locally yet • Very few talking bus stops • AV announcements limited to three bus routes that we are aware of at the moment. We understand one operator is introducing these as buses are replaced. • All stakeholders need to be made aware of the precedence of wheelchair users over buggies spaces and there needs to be clearer sanctions for compliance - either as company policies or within the scope of the Equalities Act

David Froggat

04 June 2013 at 11:37

On board recorded information none-existent in my home area. Such information would give me greater confidence and obviate the necessity of asking the driver.

Chris Odell

04 June 2013 at 11:34

audio on buses is essential. It helps a GDO to navigate their journey. Buses that currently have audio, the audio is often turned off as drivers complain it gets on their nerves. Drivers won't tell a GDO when their stop is coming up meaning that GDO miss their stop. I have been assured by a driver of my stop, only to find he had put me off at the wrong stop which left me confused and lost. Drivers need disability awareness traing and buses need audio if GDO are going to be independent.


03 June 2013 at 14:55

My experience of accessing travel information before bording the bus is poor. I use screen reading computer software and usually bus operators web sites are inaccessible and sites like Traveline Scotland are little better. On board while some buses now have visual screens indicating the next stop these are not audible and as such I am unable to access the information. In many other countries and finally in London, equipment has been installed which provides both a visual and audible alert to passengers of the next stop and destination. Legislation similar to that requiring rail operators to provide visual and audible information should be introduced that applies to bus providers. Rail information is much better but timetable information is now becoming increasingly inaccessible to screen reading software. This means that I am forced to use National Rail Enquiries automated phone line which costs at least ten pence per minute when others are able to access the same information for free.

Vikki Thomson

03 June 2013 at 14:37

I think that having AV announcements on buses is a good idea in the event that the driver forgets to shout out a VI person's stop or the VI person doesn't hear the driver. The Service 10 to Western Harbour in Edinburgh. The voice is very clear and at a good volume. It would certainly put less stress on the driver and hopefully make reclusive VI people with no confidence use them. I know a lot of VI people who use trains instead of buses for this very reason.

Tony Averis

03 June 2013 at 14:33

Improvements to consider would be: • To have Real Time Information (RTI) in major Bus Stations that is compatible with the RNIB key fob activator. • All bus stops that have RTI should have audio announcements of timetable information. • Buses should be cleaned of debris often to avoid Guide Dogs being over interested in dropped food etc. • All buses should have Audio\Video announcements - this will avoid the reliance on the good will (and memory) of the bus driver to tell me when I need to alight at my required stop. With the introduction of the National Bus enquiry phone number, it is now a costly experience to access timetable information etc. Someone with a visual impairment is now disadvantaged by not being able to access printed timetables. Having to use an 087 prefixed number by mobile is out of the financial scope of many. Solution: 1 Either return to a local number or 2 To set up an accessible number that registered blind and partially sighted people can access this service. This can be set up for visually impaired and print disabled people to provide a prescribed code, such as that provided by telephone directory enquiries (195). There are now a number of mobile applications available to get such information, but many at present are unable to access these because of affordability and the lack of support on how to use technology at this level. Apple and Android devices cost hundreds of pounds which is a barrier itself, but one may feel wary of it's protracted use in public in fear (or perceived fear) of being targeted, especially if that person is visually impaired (cane user or assistance dog user). Having the opportunity to make a simple short call will alleviate this fear as this can be made in a safer environment than that of being in a public open space, such as waiting at a bus stop.

Stephanie Sergeant

03 June 2013 at 14:24

I train visually impaired and blind people to use technology all over the country. I am blind myself, and rely on public transport a great deal. The audio description of bus stops that the London busses have, make them far safer and easier to use. I have an Android phone with an App called Georgie which gives me this information. On completion of one bus journey that involved 3 busses, I arrived so unstressed, that I thought, “what extra work can I take on, now I have this greater capacity.’ This is the kind of difference audio information on busses would make to blind people. I think it is essential. This would reduce the welfare bill, as it would enable more blind people to work, Or at least give us a level playing field. On several occasions in the past I have gone past the stop I needed to get off at. Its incredibly frightening to be landed in an area you do not know, when you cannot read the sign posts, and have no idea how to retrace the route to your required destination.

Steve Norris

03 June 2013 at 14:19

As a blind guide dog owner I find it impossible to travel on buses as they are at the moment due to the fact that I do not know where I am on a bus journey. To have a system where stops are annonced would provide me with complete confidence whilst traveling on a bus . To have this confidence means I would travel more times and greater distances than I do at present. I do travel on a bus only when there is somebody able to travel with me.

Joy Stone

03 June 2013 at 14:13

I am so glad of the opportunity to put my views on the subject above. I am 85, partially sighted with a Guide dog. I like to be totally independent and can only be so by being able to use public transport, i.e. buses. It would be so helpful if the stops coming up were announced, it would give one so much more confidence. In the past I have requested of the driver to call out my stop on approaching but although kindly has forgotten to do so, meaning that I have had to walk back to my stop. Please make living more independently, possible for blind and partially sighted people.

Total results 84 (page 1 of 9)