Houghton and Sunderland South MP, Bridget Phillipson, has called on bus operators to do more for blind and partially sighted bus users after experiencing first hand the challenges they face on a daily basis when travelling across Tyne and Wear.
Using special glasses, which simulated different eye conditions, the local MP attempted to catch a bus in Shiney Row. Partially sighted bus user Peter Bennetts swapped places with Bridget and tried to help her navigate issues like accidentally mistaking a lorry for a bus, something which often happens to blind people along with many, many other challenges.
Bridget has led calls for the re-regulation of local bus services through a Quality Contract scheme. Councillors on Tyne and Wear's Integrated Transport Authority will decide later in the year whether to adopt the measures.
Commenting on the accessibility of buses in Tyne and Wear, Bridget Phillipson MP, said:
"Buses are a vital part of our local transport network but too often many in the community face problems using services. I was able to experience first hand the challenges blind and partially sighted people face on a daily basis trying to use local bus services.
"Bus operators have a responsibility to ensure their vehicles are accessible to all - it makes common and commercial sense. Unfortunately, many people with a disability have told me this is far from a reality.
"I want bus operators to do more to take into account the needs of customers. That's why I'm campaigning for a Quality Contract scheme which compels operators to do more for passengers who require extra support."
Learn more about 'The Big Bus Campaign' at www.thebigbuscampaign.co.uk