Members about recent Interactions with TFL
On Tuesday 23rd July, a representative from TFL hosted a consultation on public transport and TFL services at Croydon Vision. This was a great way to give feedback on the services and ask questions.
On the way home from the TfL meeting I thought I would do some investigation work as I found the TfL representative a bit dismissive of what I believe to be perfectly acceptable solutions to some of the problems we experience.
When I got to the station I was looking around and was obviously doing a great job of looking helpless as a lovely woman approached me and asked if I needed any help, so I asked her if there was a customer service window anywhere? She said “don’t worry I’ll go get someone”. Next thing you know a member of staff approached me and I explained my predicament. This staff member told me that he was fully aware of this situation and then proceeded to guide me to a customer service window, he told me that whenever I come to the I should make my way to the window and speak to a staff member who will track my bus on a GPS and then when it gets near they will come out and escort me onto the bus.
When my bus arrived the member of staff turned up and made sure I got on the bus!
This was a great experience however I have not always been so lucky and TFL can be very inconsistent, just a day after this I experienced the total opposite, where there were no staff to be found and no lovely bystanders to help leaving to struggle to get my bus. This is just one reason why isolation is one of the biggest problems that blind people face because they know that when they go out there personal safety cannot be guaranteed
If anyone asks how to use West Croydon bus station, just tell them to go to the CS window and the staff (if there is one there) will help out. If there is not a member of staff around then please report your experience so we can try to promote positive change.
Reshi Ramlakhan – Volunteer
Consultation with Arriva Bus Drivers
On Thursday 4th July, I was picked to be one of around eight visually impaired people to visit South Croydon bus garage be part of a visually impaired user group consulting with seven of Arriva London’s bus drivers. The consultation was arranged by Croydon council’s sensory impairment team.
After introductions, we kicked off with two videos, both produced by the RNIB. When discussing the videos afterwards, the main thing that stood out was that the Arriva employees were unaware that being visually impaired could mean so many different things to different people.
The second part of the afternoon was a chance for the visually impaired members of the group to ask questions or present their difficulties to the Arriva employees.
Following on from our various discussions, we paired up, one visually impaired user and one member of Arriva staff. We went out onto a stationary bus and got to explore it. The Arriva staff got to try getting on and off a bus using sim specs. I guess it never occurred to me how hard sighted people would find even wearing the glasses. It was amazing to see the reactions and how much they gleaned an understanding of potential daily struggles that visually impaired travellers may face
The thing that I’ve taken away is that you must always raise your voice when speaking to a bus driver. If you are struggling to communicate, you can ask them if they could open their door a crack so you can hear them. They are not obliged to do so, but like many other things we discussed, it was felt that this would fall under common sense on the drivers’ part.
The afternoon spent with Arriva staff was a massive success. We even had other bus drivers wandering over to see what we were doing and wanting to get involved. I do hope that this is the start of a new relationship with bus companies and I hope to be involved again.
Danielle Cleary – Volunteer and Member