Blind man’s call for ‘Talking Bus’ role for all Leeds drivers

Sajid Ali.
Sajid Ali.
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A frustrated blind bus user has launched a campaign calling for drivers to announce the stops on routes around the city.

Sajid Ali, 34, of Harehills, wants drivers on buses across Leeds to communicate the stops with passengers, so visually impaired people know when to leave. His campaign, called Talking Buses, comes after a string of instances where he says he has got off at the wrong stop.

Mr Ali said: “When I get on the bus, I make sure I ask the driver ‘when we get to such a stop, can you give me a shout?’ But it’s difficult. I seem to get off at the wrong stop. It happens quite a lot, whether that’s because the drivers forget. The other day I was dropped off two stops after I was meant to and some kind person had to take me to where I needed to be. I use buses two or three times a week but it’s got to the point where I’m starting to use taxis, because of fear and nervousness. Taxis are more expensive but I think at least I’ll get somewhere.”

He said he supports the work of national charities, such as the RNIB and Guide Dogs for the Blind, who are campaigning for a change in the law to make audio and visual information available on board buses, but fears the cost is a major obstacle.

He said: “Audio equipment is expensive. What I suggest is a PA system - a couple of speakers and a microphone - to announce major stops, if not all stops. Or if they just want to announce it via their mouth. It’s cheaper.”

A spokesman for Leeds’ biggest bus firm First said they have worked with Guide Dogs for the Blind who trained drivers in improving awareness. He added: “We will continue to work with Mr Ali, other stakeholders and the wider local community to investigate new and innovative ways to help our blind and partially sighted passengers.”

Search ‘Talking Buses’ on Facebook for more on Mr Ali’s campaign.


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