“Blind people should be able to use buses too” says Stuart Donaldson MP

Stuart Donaldson MP
Stuart Donaldson MP

MP Stuart Donaldson heard about the importance of audio visual announcements on buses at the SNP party conference this week.

He heard about the experiences of a guide dog owner who had missed their stop because they were unable to know where on the route they were.

Sadly, this is not an isolated experience; 7 in 10 passengers with sight loss have been forgotten on a bus. Talking buses, which provide audio visual “next stop” and “final destination” announcements, are essential for people with sight loss to live independently. Worryingly, only one fifth of the UK’s buses are talking buses, 97% of which are in London.

The MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine supports Guide Dogs’ proposal to make buses acceptable for everyone.

Earlier this year the SNP called on the UK government to make sure all new buses are talking buses, calling it a “life-changing” move. As a result of Guide Dogs’ campaign, the UK government has acted to include this proposal into the Bus Services Bill.

Stuart Blair Donaldson MP commented: “I was shocked to learn when speaking with the charity Guide Dogs how often blind people miss their stop because they do not know where they are. The Bus Services Bill is the biggest reform of buses since the 1980s so it is a unique opportunity to make sure that blind people can use buses safely too. I’m delighted that the UK government has listened and included talking buses in the bill”

James White, Senior Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, commented:

“Talking buses give independence to people with sight loss, enabling them to travel on their own and reducing stress and anxiety. They also help other travellers including tourists and infrequent bus users to reach their destination safely.

“The UK government have now recognised the need to roll out talking buses nationwide. We are asking politicians like Stuart Blair Donaldson to ensure they follow through and commit to making talking buses the norm across the UK.”