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McGill’s Buses Driver Swap is an Eye Opener

Drivers with McGill’s Buses in Renfrewshire took part in a hands-on training session this week [Tuesday, January 30th] to better understand the experiences of blind and partially sighted passengers.

Photo: Eileen of RNIB Scotland guiding a trainee driver with sim specs on.

The company held a ‘Swap-With-Me’ event in which supporters of national sight loss charity RNIB Scotland explained the challenges they face when travelling on public transport, and how the driver’s actions can help make bus travel as accessible as possible for all users.

At the event at the Johnstone Depot on Cochranemill Road, drivers had the opportunity to wear sim-specs; glasses that simulate different eye conditions to experience first-hand the barriers that blind and partially sighted passengers face when trying to hail a bus, buy a ticket and board.

The drivers discussed their role and the part they play in making the journey as accessible as possible, while those with sight loss had a chance to sit in the cab to get a better sense of what the job entails from the driver's perspective.

Photo: Alan, a blind bus user, speaks to the trainee drivers.

Neil Dryden, HR Training & Recruitment Director for McGill’s Buses said,

“The Swap with Me event has been a great opportunity for our team to learn more about the diverse needs of our customers with visual impairments.

“We’re excited to continue working with RNIB Scotland to host regular training events across the McGill’s Bus Group, building on our training, making our buses more accessible and improving our customer experience for all.”

Photo: A group photo of McGill's trainee drivers and RNIB Scotland supporters.

Georgea Strachan, an RNIB Scotland supporter who took part in the event added,

"I really liked how conversational and informal it was, because it allowed the drivers to talk honestly about their own perspectives, as well as us talking about things we find difficult when taking the bus.

“It was very isolating sitting the driver’s cabin, you’re completely sealed in – there's only a small hole for you to help someone guide their hand towards the card machine, so I can see why it might be awkward for drivers.

“I hope that the drivers understand that blindness isn’t black and white, it is a spectrum. I don’t want them to be scared of all this information we’ve given them - just to use it in their training, and going forward to be more aware, and to help people in the future and keep them safe.”