Western Sydney

Busways drivers receive training from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT

31 Jul 2014

Busways have partnered with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT to educate bus drivers on how they can help in making bus travel easier for passengers who are blind or vision impaired.

On July 24, drivers at Busways’ Windsor Depot received training sessions conducted byJennifer Moon (Community Education Coordinator at Guide Dogs NSW) and Barbara Bonfield who is vision impaired, whichaimed to raise awareness among bus drivers of the difficulties vision impaired people encounter during travel and the importance of providing information verbally.

As part of the training, drivers learned about the Vision Impaired Person’s Travel Pass, what information to communicate to passengers before boarding, as well as techniques for guiding someone who is vision impaired on and off the bus should the need arise. These skills are practiced in pairs with one person blindfolded and being guided by the other.

“We were able to learn different techniques for guiding someone who is vision impaired in a hands-on and practical way. The blindfold exercise allowed us to experience some of the challenges vision impaired people face when boarding on and off the bus,” said Bus Driver, Sharon Alcock.

“It was a completely different experience once we put the blindfold on. Something which was very familiar to us as a driver turned out to be very daunting. The exercise really helped us to understand how we can better assist those with vision impairment.”

Busways is focussed on providing accessible transport services for all sections of the community, including people with vision impairment.

“We have partnered with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT in the past and our local bus drivers have benefited from an increased awareness of the needs and requirements of passengers with vision impairment.” said Rob Gibson, Contract 1 Operations Manager for Busways.

“We hope that with ongoing training, our drivers will always be ready to assist these passengers and ensure that they arrive safely and comfortably at their desired destination.”

For more information about Guide Dogs NSW/ACT’s access and awareness training programs please contact 9412 9300 or visit www.guidedogs.com.au.