Wearing blindfold “opened my eyes” to challenges blind people face
West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, took up The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association “Blindfold bus challenge” on Friday 10th October, from Penzance bus station.
Mr George met a representative from First Bus (Natacha Tagholm) and The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (Neil Howe) and then undertook a short bus journey, wearing a blindfold.
Mr. George met local guide dog owners Colin Barnett and Sylvia Curnow at Penzance bus station who were able to tell him about their experiences of travelling by bus. He then put on a blindfold and, with the assistance of Neil Howe, travelled on the bus from Penzance to Newlyn.
Mr. George also spoke to Natacha Tagholm from First Bus who explained the steps First Bus are taking to train their drivers in awareness of the needs of passengers with a visual impairment. She was also able to show him the “Safe Journey” card which First Bus has been introduced. Disabled passengers are able to show this card to alert drivers to their particular needs.
Mr George said, “Wearing the blindfold opened my eyes to the challenges which blind people face when using public transport.
“Having audio services on local buses wouldn’t just benefit blind people but it would help visitors and those who have conditions which cause disorientation. Many urban areas already have audio visual aids on all public transport but in areas like ours, with older and outdated buses, there is very limited service. We should be modernising our services very soon to give people with sight problems the chance to get out and about like the rest of us.”