First Bus drivers get up to speed with sensory loss
First Bus drivers in Falkirk, Scotland are to undertake training to help them better understand sensory loss.
Local deaf and blind people will be helping the drivers to understand what it is like to use public transport without being able to see or hear properly.
Organised by the Forth Valley Sensory Centre and the First Midland Bluebird team from the nearby depot in Larbert, a stand at Falkirk Bus Station will be closed off between 10am – 12pm on 30 November so that drivers can experience sensory loss for themselves.
Drivers will be asked to board buses using special simulation glasses to replicate different eye conditions and sight loss. They will also be given headphones from Silent Knights, to reduce their hearing and allow them to try to lip read deaf customers. The training is being supported by a number of Forth Valley Sensory Centre users who are regular customers on the buses.
“Many of our Centre users are public transport users and they rely heavily on bus services to get around town, do shopping, meet friends and family or simply visit our Centre each week, so making sure they have the best possible journey is really important,” commented Jacquie Winning, the Centre’s Manager.
Members of the public will also invited to find out more about the First Bus Safe Journey Card and what is on offer at the Forth Valley Sensory Centre for people with sensory loss as well as their carers, friends and families.
The Safe Journey Cards are intended to help people to use public transport more easily, where previously they may have faced difficulties. The cards allow the passenger to discreetly communicate a specific message to the driver, indicating to them any particular needs or requests they may have.
Larbert Depot Operations Manager, Jason Hackett said: “We have a number of processes in place already to assist disabled customers, whether they have a sensory loss or not, however, there is no such thing as being too prepared and experiences like this really help people understand just how much more difficult it can be to do things others take for granted.”