Mike Gapes MP got a chance to experience for himself why people with sight loss need audio-visual announcements (AV) on buses, through playing a memory game, at the Labour Party Conference this week.
AV is essential for people with sight loss to live independently, yet although London buses now have AV overall only one fifth of the UK’s buses have AV. Without AV bus passengers with sight loss have to ask the driver to remember to tell them when they have reached their stop.
Finding out more about Guide Dogs’ work, Mike Gapes heard that 7 in 10 bus passengers with sight loss have been forgotten by a bus driver. For a sighted person, missing a stop is an annoyance, but for someone with sight loss, it is potentially very dangerous.
AV doesn’t just help people with sight loss – tourists, older people and infrequent bus users all find AV useful. Guide Dogs released their Destination Unknown report this September showing that nearly half of survey respondents said they would use the bus more frequently if it had AV.