Transport CommitteeWritten evidence from Daniel Duckford (DAT 94)

I am a blind man living here in Pembrokeshire and do not enjoy travelling on the busses here as it is a giant task to travel even the shortest journeys. Firstly the busses often don’t attempt to get right up to the raised kerb designed for wheel chairs and if I miss the step the drop between the bus entrance and the kerb is often a drop of 18 inches so I have to crawl closer and closer until I feel the edge of the kerb and this makes my guide dog very nervous. The bus drivers will just sit there and say nothing to help as long as they can just sit there that’s ok, after getting my ticket the front seets designed for disabled and blind people with guide dogs are all occupied by people who have nothing wrong with them and they mostly will not vacate the seat for me and my guide dog and the driver will never ever ask these people to vacate the seat for myself, and this often causes an argument between myself and the other passengers. You may ask, why I don’t sit in an ordinary seat? The answer is that my guide dog is too large to fit in between the seats as it is very tight even for me to sit in and the dog refuses to get into such a small area and I can’t leave him sit in the isle.

As my journey continues I cannot ever enjoy the trip because I must concentrate on the journey as I must remind myself where I am at all times so I don’t miss the stop and I have many times asked the driver to tell me when I am at my stop but he often forgets and I am on my nerves edge at all times and I feel if the busses had a talking voice on it telling me when we are approaching my stop like the trains, life would be easier. I have been on such busses in Swindon and they are brilliant and make life so much easier for everyone including the driver. I hope this will be taken into consideration.

I went blind in my forties and went up to Hereford to a special college for the blind and the college every so often would have a class of local bus drivers sent in by their employers to train to assist blind people in the right way and it was a pleasure to travel on those busses in Hereford as I was made to feel confident to be independent at all times and I feel this could be the same all over the country as the blind here have not got any choice but to use busses or live as a hermit and there are already too many blind in that position and made to feel they have no rights in this world, all because of a little time spent on making busses totally a pleasure to travel on.

I hope this e-mail makes total sense on how many people’s lives can be made to feel part of the community, as courtesy and sense will one day prevail.

May 2013

Prepared 13th September 2013