A sight loss charity has teamed up with a national train company to better support blind and partially sighted people as they navigate their way around train stations when travelling on the railway network.
Working with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Virgin Trains has introduced ‘RNIB Maps for All’ in all of the stations that it manages along its east coast route. It is the first UK train company to do this.
The maps use a combination of raised large print, braille and tactile symbols to provide users with key information on the location of the platforms, toilet facilities, shops and cafes. They have been installed close to station entrances in order to help people with sight loss prepare for their train journey with ease.
The maps will be a welcome development to many of the almost two million people in the UK living with sight loss after research by the charity reported that one quarter of blind and partially sighted people feel they are unable to travel by train as much as they like. The most common reason given for this response through the My Voice survey was a lack of support on trains or at stations.
Speaking about the installation of the maps, managing director of RNIB Solutions, Neil Heslop, said: “We’re pleased to have worked with Virgin Trains East Coast in finding an effective solution to make the stations they manage more accessible for peole living with sight loss.”
Welcoming the news, Kawal Gucukoglu, who is registered blind and has used the map at Peterborough station, said: “I like the fact it’s a map for everyone – there’s not a separate one for people with and without sight loss. It’s very clear to use with good Braille and print lettering. Tactile maps are a great idea and will come in useful for loads of travellers.”
The RNIB continually campaigns for better transport accessibility, and works with a range of bus and rail companies to ensure journeys are as easy as possible for people with sight loss.