Barry joins a campaign for talking buses

PARTIALLY-sighted Barry Hopcroft has joined a campaign for talking buses around 
Bognor Regis.

Barry spends about three months a year in the town centre with his daughter and her family.

He contrasts the lack of audio-visual technology, which speaks the route number and bus stops, on Bognor’s buses with the buses in London.

He said: “In London, where the buses have AV, you know where you are. It’s a form of sat-nav and it makes for much safer journeys.

“My guide dog, Marley, gives me independence and having AV on buses gives me a bit more independence.

“Around Bognor, I have to ask the drivers to let me know when we reach the bus stop I want. Sometimes, they forget and I can get stuck on a bus.”

The technology was also useful if a bus had its journey suddenly terminated , said Barry.

Aged 47, he lives in Clapham, South London, for much of the year. He has myopic macular degeneration as well as diabetes, which has also affected his sight.

He has added his voice to the petition launched by the Guide Dogs charity for the government 
to ensure all new buses are fitted with AV technology as recommended by the transport select committee of MPs.

Just one in five buses in the country has the equipment. Of those, 97 per cent, are in London.

A survey by Guide Dogs showed two-thirds of bus passengers with sight loss missed their stop in a six-month period.

Joel Young, from Guide Dogs, said: “Audio announcements on buses are very helpful not just for people with sight loss.”

The petition would help make buses more accessible to all. It can be signed at: www.guidedogs.org.uk