Jon Cruddas MP dons blindfold to open eyes on buses for visual impaired

Jon Cruddas during his blindfolded journey

Jon Cruddas during his blindfolded journey - Credit: Archant

Jon Cruddas MP donned a blindfold and boarded a bus to support a charity campaign to improve transport access for the visually impaired.

Jon Cruddas with the guide dog

Jon Cruddas with the guide dog - Credit: Archant

The Dagenham and Rainham MP took the 103 bus blindfolded in backing of Guide Dogs UK’s talking buses campaign to get audio and visual (AV) announcements on all public transport.

After the journey, the Labour MP said: “This was an incredibly insightful experience for me into just how hard it is for blind and partially sighted people in my constituency to access public transport.

“It was also a fun way to raise awareness about a very serious issue.”

The charity for the visually impaired is pressing for new laws to make AV information a legal necessity on all forms of public transport.

Mr Cruddas said he experienced first-hand the challenges faced by blind people every week such as not knowing what the next stop was or whether he had reached his destination.

He also encountered the difficulties that pedestrians face such as avoiding advertising boards and parked cars.

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He continued: “Much more must be done to ensure that they have access to the transport links that myself and others take for granted. That’s why I am backing Guide Dog’s ‘Talking Buses’ campaign and am calling for the installation of AV on all new buses.”

The charity’s community champion for London, Dave Kent, praised the MP for taking part in the scheme.

Although London buses are all equipped with AV announcements, this is not the case outside the capital, Mr Kent said.

He added: “We say if you are going to be blind anywhere, then be so in London.”

“But the more we can convince MPs that its a good idea to have AV everywhere, the greater social benefit we can all have.”

Mr Kent also pointed out that it is not just the visually impaired that benefit from AV on buses.

Tourists and other visitors who do not know the route are also given a helping hand by notices on electronic boards and from loudspeaker announcements.