Employees from Stagecoach North Scotland participated in a ‘swap with me’ training event at Aberdeen Bus Station as part of the bus operator’s commitment to meet the needs of passengers with a visual impairment.
At the event, which is part of a campaign by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), drivers donned ‘sim specs’ that simulate different eye conditions to experience the barriers that blind and partially sighted passengers face when using public transport. People with sight loss also had the opportunity to sit in the cab and engage with those boarding from the bus driver’s perspective.
James Adams, deputy director of RNIB Scotland, said: "Bus travel can be a lifeline for blind and partially sighted people, who rely on buses 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 some 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," he added
Stagecoach North Scotland previously signed a charter with RNIB, which has seen the bus operator introduce new methods, such as approaching bus stops slowly so people have time to identify the number and route, not pulling away before a passenger with sight loss has found a seat, and letting the passenger know when they have arrived at their destination.
RNIB highlighted that there are around 170,000 people in Scotland with significant sight loss – a number the charity expects to increase in the next two decades due to its ageing population.