VIDEO: Wakefield bus drivers launch blind awareness campaign

Bus drivers were blindfolded before having to board their own vehicle and buy a ticket as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the barriers faced by visually impaired or blind passengers.

The Arriva Yorkshire staff then met people with sight problems to learn how they could improve their transport services.

MP Mary Creagh with bus driver Lee Hick.

MP Mary Creagh with bus driver Lee Hick.

They were also joined by MP Mary Creagh, Labour’s shadow transport minister.

The event took place at Wakefield Bus Station last Friday and was part of the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s (RNIB) campaign called Stop For Me, Speak To Me.

Ms Creagh said: “It is about understanding what it feels like to get on and off a bus if you are blind or partially sighted. I had to think about my money, my bus pass, ask where the bus was going, as I obviously couldn’t see what number it was. Trying to find a seat was not an easy thing.

“The final thing was thinking about when do you know how to get off a bus? If you don’t have talking buses that tell you when they are stopping, how do you know? What if the driver forgets and what if you end up going too far?

“It was a very challenging experience. Just for that 10 minutes to sit and talk to people who have experienced sight loss and to really think about the challenges faced by ordinary people trying to do an ordinary thing, but with a great deal of difficulty.

“I think driver education is important, educating members of the public on how they can help and making sure that we find engineering solutions so that we make sure our public transport is accessible, affordable and keeps communities connected.”

Blind passengers also got the chance to sit in the cab of a stationary bus and experience the driver’s perspective.

They spoke about difficulties finding a seat and also talked about problems caused by drivers swapping over and forgetting to tell their colleague there was a blind person on the bus.