Royal National Institute of Blind People Scotland & Xplore Dundee
Xplore Dundee driver trainers Ann Carty and Jonathan Eggleton wearing 'sim specs'
Xplore Dundee has become the latest Scottish transport company to reaffirm its commitment to make its services more accessible to blind and partially sighted people.
The bus operator is backing a charter from sight loss charity RNIB Scotland that commits it to meeting the needs of passengers with a visual impairment.
At a recent training event, drivers at the company’s depot in East Dock Street, Dundee had a chance to wear special 'sim specs' that simulate different eye conditions and experienced first-hand the barriers that blind and partially sighted customers face when travelling.
The RNIB charter asks that drivers approach bus stops more slowly so people have time to make out the number and route, not pull away from stops before passengers with sight loss have found a seat, and let them know when they arrive at their destination.
Xplore Dundee signed the document in May this year, alongside seven other bus operators. The company has over 130 buses and coaches serving a network of routes across the city of Dundee.
Xplore Dundee Managing Director Elsie Turbyne said, “We believe that everyone should have the same positive experience on our buses, regardless of age or ability. That’s why we have various measures in place to ensure our services are easy for everyone to use.
“This training event is an excellent opportunity for us to learn more about the challenges faced by vision impaired customers so that we can continue to enhance our provision for customers who need a little extra help to access public transport services.”
Cate Vallis, policy officer with RNIB Scotland, said: "It's very welcome news that Xplore Dundee has embraced our bus charter campaign. Bus travel can be a life-line for blind and partially sighted people, who rely on public transport more than most because they are unable to drive and taxis are too expensive for everyday journeys. But many of our members say they sometimes have difficulty in using services.
"We think if drivers are more aware of the problems people with sight loss face they will take that extra bit of time to ensure they can make their journey confidently."
There are around 170,000 people in Scotland with significant sight loss, a number likely to increase in the next two decades due to our ageing population.