New app shows way forward on bus journeys in Leeds

Claire Randall with guide dog Ben at the app's launch at Leeds United's Elland Road ground.
Claire Randall with guide dog Ben at the app's launch at Leeds United's Elland Road ground.
  • App gives real-time audio alerts on progress of user’s bus journey
  • Initiative is being trialled in Leeds over eight-week period
  • Designed to give blind and visually impaired people more confidence on buses
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A new smartphone app being trialled in Leeds could make life on the buses easier for blind and visually impaired people.

The app provides real-time audio alerts so users know exactly where they are on a journey and when they need to get off.

I believe it will provide passengers with a greater sense of independence and freedom

Launched by bus firms First and Arriva in partnership with the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT), it also offers no-hassle route maps and service information.

The Next Stop Announcement app will be available on Apple’s iOS platform (iPhone) during an eight-week pilot in Leeds running until May 1.

Regular bus user Claire Randall has spent six months acting as an advisor to the project.

She said: “Having been able to share first hand some of the difficulties that I and other blind and visually impaired bus users face on a daily basis, I believe it will provide passengers with a greater sense of independence and freedom when taking the bus.

“I hope it will lead to more blind and visually impaired people having the confidence to make bus trips, and stories of passengers missing or getting off at the wrong stop will become a thing of the past.”

Giles Fearnley, managing director of First Bus, said: “We are committed to making our services accessible to all of our passengers across the country.

“We are therefore very excited about the trial of this app, which we think has the potential to revolutionise bus travel for the blind and visually impaired community.

“We’ll be continuing to work closely with partners and user groups during the pilot.”

Arriva commercial director Mark Yexley said: “We hope to gain a firm understanding about the real benefits of this technology and how it can enhance the journey experience for bus passengers, especially those with visual impairments.”

For further information about the app, ring First on 0113 381 5000 or Arriva on 01924 231352.

Carl DAmmassa, Group Managing Director  Business Finance, Aldermore

Aldermore supports more than £1bn of asset finance to UK businesses in 2017