MEP joins forces with blind and partially sighted in Manchester to call for better bus services

Jacqueline Foster MEP has joined forces with constituents from Manchester to call for more awareness among bus drivers of the needs of blind and partially sighted people. Jacqueline, who is the Conservative Party's Spokesman on Transport, met on Tuesday with Alba de Toro Nozal, from Manchester; Kimberley Burrows, from Salford and Lindsay Armstrong, Regional Campaigns Officer for the RNIB, following concerns that blind and partially sighted commuters are being left waiting at bus stops and not being given adequate information while onboard.

The Government is currently reviewing how bus companies are meeting the needs of blind and partially sighted people, following an Action Plan published two years ago that calls for better training for bus drivers on disability issues.

Jacqueline said: "Having met with Alba, Kimberley and Lindsay, it's clear to me that many of the problems they face are the result of poor customer service.  While there are drivers who understand the needs of blind and partially sighted people, sadly there are still many who don't.

"If there is someone waiting at a bus stop with a guide dog or a cane, the likelihood is they will not be able to see the bus to be able to signal for it to stop.  Equally, when on board, the customer will need a clear indication when they have arrived at their required destination."

 "The bus companies need to sort this out. No customer should be treated like this - we have had guide dogs for many years and there really is no excuse not to recognise the additional needs of our blind and partially sighted travellers."

 Lindsay Armstrong, Regional Campaigns Officer, RNIB, said: "It is vital that bus operators take on board the needs of all customers, particularly the needs of blind and partially sighted passengers, and that the UK implements the EU regulation to make disability awareness training or bus drivers mandatory."