The title may suggest that I am referring to Bertie the Bus in Thomas the Tank Engine by Rev W Awdry. However this subject is not about small talking bus outrunning Thomas the Tank engine on the Isle of Sodor.
On many modern trains nowadays and in metros and undergrounds worldwide, there is often a small LED light information board that scrolls the name of the next station, or a disembodied voice will announce the next station With no knowledge of the system, and with no visual clues as to where you are, even the disembodied voice announcing the next station makes all the difference to the tired and weary traveller. Travelling in a strange city can be challenging even for those who have full use of all their senses. Now imagine what a person who is blind or partially sighted has to try to figure out on a daily basis as they travel on buses.
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association have a campaign to encourage Bus Companies to fit Audio Visual technology, as fare stage announcement by voice and screen are called.
The local press (P&J) reported this campaign, but it would have been helpful had they credited Stagecoach for using this technology.
“Stagecoach Bluebird have launched a customer information system on-board the Royal Deeside routes in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council. The company has worked with Hanover Displays to provide an audio and visual information screen on board the coaches. The information screens will provide details of the next stop, interspersed with relevant route information and promotional messages. The equipment has been fitted to the 12 coaches operating on the Royal Deeside routes 201, 202 and 203. Stagecoach Bluebird have also launched a customer information system on-board the two JET bus services operating to Aberdeen Airport.”
You can easily access a pre-formatted letter to your MP at the Guide Dogs website.
I have heard that First Bus categorically said they would not be implementing this. Do you know about this? I was riding on a bus today and learned that they have implemented an Augmented Reality system that works with one’s smartphone or tablet. I’m sure that money could have been better spent on a wee talking LED display, because, being visually impaired, I do find it difficult to get around on busses, and drivers are, often times, unwilling to let you know when or where your stop is