Metroline supports the RNIB by hosting a ‘Swap with me’ event at Holloway Garage.
Following a very successful RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) Swap with me event at Cricklewood, a second event was arranged for one of London’s biggest and busiest garages, Holloway.
The event was organised with the support of RNIB volunteers and provided Holloway bus drivers the opportunity to 'swap' places with blind and partially sighted customers so that they could better understand the challenges passengers face when using the bus. Bus drivers wore special ‘sim specs', which simulate different sight loss conditions and tried to board a bus, buy a ticket and find a seat.
In addition to the drivers participating, members of Metroline’s Transport Safety Unit took part along with Garage Manager Fola Olawo-Jerome, and all agreed, it was a very difficult challenge trying to board the bus whilst being deprived of sight. Equally, all of the Metroline participants agreed it was a very valuable experience, “even though we are only using the sim specs for such a short time, it has an incredibly profound impact on your ability to function, even in an environment that you would expect to be familiar, “ explained Fola, “we are delighted that the RNIB could visit our garage today and helps us all to get a better understanding of some of the issues blind and partially sighted people experience, and we will continue to work hard and share this information with all of our colleagues to help make our services accessible to everyone.”
This was followed by blind and partially sighted volunteers taking turns to sit in the driver's cab to discover the difficulties drivers have when noticing and communicating with passengers which was also very beneficial and allowed drivers to share ideas and tips with blind and partially sighted passengers to help them use the bus with confidence.
Richard Holmes, RNIB Regional Campaigns Officer for London, said: "bus travel is a lifeline to blind and partially sighted people in London, who rely on buses to take them to work, the shops or just to get out and about with friends…We are really impressed with Metroline's willingness to make improvements for their blind and partially sighted passengers and are delighted that they are continuing to supporting the charter through such events as the one at Holloway today."
In 2015 Metroline signed the RNIB’s bus Charter to ensure our services are accessible for customers with sight loss and we pledged our support for the Charter which was developed by RNIB following the success of the 'Stop for me, Speak to me' bus campaign.
Further swaps are planned across Metroline throughout 2017.
Every 15 minutes, someone in the UK begins to lose their sight. The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) are here for everyone affected by sight loss - that's almost 2 million people in the UK. If you, or someone you know, has a sight problem, RNIB can help. Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit www.rnib.org.uk