Hawick woman’s campaign to improve bus travel for blind

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A young woman from Hawick has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the difficulties blind and partially- sighted people face when using public transport.

Katrina Thomson, 21, says she wants bus companies in particular to engage with blind and partially-sighted people to understand from their perspective the barriers they face travelling by bus.

She is now working with Fixers – a charity that supports young people aged 16-25 to tackle any issue that matters to them, however they choose – to get her message across.

A report about Katrina’s Fixers campaign will feature on ITV Border tonight (August 7) from 6pm.

“I find it really difficult to know when a bus is coming and buses can pass if no-one else is there to stop them,” said Katrina. “Sometimes a few buses can come at the same time and it’s really difficult to know which is the right bus.”

With the support of Fixers, Katrina is creating an audio guide, which will depict a conversation between a passenger who is blind or partially sighted and a bus driver to illustrate how customer care should be undertaken by bus drivers in an ideal situation.

“Around eight out of 10 blind and partially-sighted people miss important appointments, such as hospital appointments and job interviews, or even just going on a date, because a bus doesn’t stop for them,” said Natalie Doig, campaigns officer for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

Katrina travels independently on familiar routes, but she still encounters problems on other routes, such as not knowing if her bus has arrived or left, unhelpful drivers, identifying free seats and different bus layouts.

Katrina said of her campaign: “I want to help blind and partially-sighted people become more independent when it comes to using public transport, especially buses.”

For more information about Fixers, visit www.fixers.org.uk