Talking buses to help visually impaired customers and journey assistance cards 

Stagecoach has introduced 18 brand new ‘talking buses’ with audio and visual next stop announcements on routes in Middlesbrough, Stockport, and Hartlepool.

The buses feature state-of-the-art technology, including large rear destination screens and audio-visual next-stop announcements with scrolling LED displays.

The bus and coach operator worked with local community groups: North East Action on Transport, and Safe in Tees Valley, as part of a wider engagement programme. The informal, user-led group, comprises service-users and staff from sight-loss charities, including Guide Dogs and RNIB, who were consulted on the many aspects of the new technology, including volume, timing, and clarity.

Additionally, the travel operator has introduced ‘Journey Assistance’ cards for people who may need a bit more help when using the bus.

The cards, which can be printed, or shown on a phone screen, let drivers know that you may need extra help when travelling.

Developed with the Confederation of Passenger Transport, the cards carry a range of statements such as: Please help me find a seat, or Please tell me when we reach my stop.

Passengers can apply for the cards if they have limited vision or hearing; difficulty in communicating; special educational needs; need extra time or help when finding a seat; or if English is not their first language.

In addition, the operator offers specific ‘face-covering journey assistance cards’ which carry a statement explaining why the carrier is exempt from wearing a face covering, either because of a disability or a health condition and also one that reads: Please lower your face covering, I am hearing-impaired and need to lip read, thank you.

Find out about the Journey Assistance Cards.

 Visit ‘it’s everyone’s journey’ to find out more about the campaign and the support services available.