I welcome the news from the Government that they have performed a U-turn on the Bus Services Bill by introducing an amendment which will require bus companies to provide a minimum level of accessible information. This will include the use of audio visual announcements on services.
Audio visual announcements are commonplace in larger towns and cities, but have yet to reach rural communities like Flintshire. Audio and visual announcements inform passengers of the next stop and the end of the route when travelling.
People who have hearing or visual impairments would benefit greatly from this technology being installed into the buses in Flintshire and would make the public transport in North Wales truly accessible.
Not only does this technology help those with visual or hearing impairments, but it will be of huge help to people with mental illness or a cognitive or learning disability. Without this technology travelling by bus can be challenging.
I was able to secure this information after writing to the Secretary of State requesting that the Government adopt audio visual announcements on buses.
I have been campaigning with the Guide Dogs charity to make sure that audio visual announcements are added to buses across the country. The Government was facing mounting pressure to insert an amendment which would secure accessibility information on public transport and I welcome their U-turn on their previous stated position.
Currently, the provision of audio visual announcements on buses is sporadic. This amendment will ensure that all bus companies have to install this enabling technology. It is plainly wrong that buses are not currently accessible for all.
Only when audio visual announcements are rolled out on all our buses can we truly call them public transport. No one should be barred from living an independent life because of their disability.