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McGill’s Driver Swap in Larbert is an Eye Opener

Drivers with McGill’s Buses in the Forth Valley took part in a hands-on training session this week [Tuesday, April 23rd] to better understand the experiences of blind and partially sighted passengers.

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 Larbert Depot on Stirling 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.

A trainee driver smiles while sitting in the bus wearing sim-specs and holding a cane.

The event was also run in partnership with local charity Forth Valley Sensory Centre, who support people with sensory loss in the area.

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.

This is the second location that RNIB Scotland have held the ‘Swap-With-Me’ events with McGill’s, the first being at the bus operator’s Renfrewshire depot, which started earlier this year.

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

“The Swap with Me event at our Larbert depot 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.”

RNIB Scotland supporter Janette roleplays as the driver while a trainee driver gets on wearing sim-specs and holding a cane.

Janette Scott, an RNIB Scotland supporter who took part in the event added,

“It went really well, everybody seemed to be listening and communicating, from the visually impaired supporters’ point of view and the trainee drivers as well.

“I hope that the next time I’m at the bus stop and they’re driving past, they’ll stop and carry out the training that we've gone through with them - that would be great!”