McGill's has become the latest Scottish bus company to pledge to make its services more accessible to blind and partially sighted people.
The Greenock-based operator will today [Friday, February 3rd] sign up to a charter from sight loss charity RNIB that commits it to meeting the needs of passengers with a visual impairment.
This includes approaching bus stops more slowly so people have time to make out the number and route, not pulling away from stops before passengers with sight loss have found a seat, and letting them know when they arrive at their destination.
McGill's has over 400 buses servicing 110 routes in the Greater Glasgow area. At today's signing event, drivers will get a chance to wear special 'sim specs' that simulate different eye conditions and experience first-hand the barriers that blind and partially sighted customers face when travelling.
James Adams, deputy director of RNIB Scotland, said: "It's great news that Scotland's largest independent bus operator has embraced our campaign. Bus travel can be a life-line for blind and partially sighted people, who rely on buses more than most because they are unable to drive and taxis are too expensive for everyday journeys. But many of our members say they sometimes have difficulty in using some services.
"We think if drivers are more aware of the problems people with sight loss face they will take that extra bit of time to ensure they can make their journey confidently."
Ralph Roberts, managing director of McGills Buses, said: "We are delighted to sign up to the RNIB Bus Charter. We are committed to making inclusive travel a reality at McGill's. The 'sim specs' have been an excellent way to raise awareness amongst our drivers about the real challenges that our partially-sighted customers face, and we will be continuing this positive work through our in-house training school programme."
There are around 170,000 people in Scotland with significant sight loss, a number likely to increase in the next two decades due to our ageing population.