I have been contacted by a number of constituents regarding Guide Dogs UK's 'Talking Buses' campaign.
I very much recognise that travelling can be difficult for people living with a visual impairment, especially when they are on their own. A Guide Dogs report showed that 7 in 10 passengers with sight loss have experienced their driver forgetting to tell them when they have reached their stop. For a sighted person, missing a stop is an annoyance, but for somebody with sight loss it is distressing and potentially dangerous.
Back in October 2016, the Government made an amendment to the Bus Services Bill that required all buses to provide accessible next-stop and final-destination information for people with vision impairments, with the Bill then becoming law in 2017.
I agree that provisions should be in place to ensure that those who have a visual impairment are able to travel on buses without worrying whether they will be able to get to their destination. I do, however, also recognise that a balance needs to be reached for smaller bus operators who might struggle to meet the costs of fitting audio equipment on all their vehicles.
I wrote out to Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, to put forward the concerns raised with me by constituents and I include below a copy of the response I received.