Local bus operator, First South Yorkshire, is supporting ‘International Day of People with Disabilities’ (December 3) with the launch of a new video in early 2017 to raise awareness of its industry leading ‘Journey Cards’.
Earlier this year First South Yorkshire relaunched its ‘Safe Journey Cards’ and ‘Better Journey Cards’, which are designed to help people use public transport where previously they may have faced difficulties. The cards allow the passenger to discreetly communicate a specific message to the driver. This can include:
- ‘Please scan my pass for me’
- ‘Please count out my change with me’
- ‘Please speak slowly, I am hard of hearing’
- ‘Please wait for me to sit down’
- ‘Please be patient, I have a hidden disability’, which can include the effects of Alzheimer’s for instance.
- ‘Please tell me when we reach my destination’ – the passenger can fill this in with the appropriate location.
- There are also sections where the customer can write his/her own message to the driver.
Since re-launching, many passengers in South Yorkshire have used the cards successfully. Such has been their success that First Bus is to produce a new video showing how they work and their benefits.
Disability Action Alliance, who worked with First Bus and another charity, Age UK, in 2009 when the cards were first introduced, is taking the Journey Card initiative to number 10 Downing Street. The charity has written to the Prime Minister, the Disabilities Minister and Transport Minister, highlighting the ‘outstanding’ example of initiative and commitment from First Bus.
Stephen Brookes MBE, Transport project lead from the Disability Action Alliance, said: “We widely endorse First Bus’s Safe Journey Cards and Better Journey Cards and will be working with the company on a new video.
“Right across the country we receive extremely positive feedback about the Journey Cards. Quite simply they are enabling people with disabilities, particularly those with hidden disabilities, to access the bus with greater confidence. Without the cards, we know that many of our members would not use the bus and effectively become isolated.
“Such has been their success that we were keen to share the concept at the highest levels of Government.”
Managing Director of First South Yorkshire, Kevin Belfield, said: “Our Journey Cards are a really effective means of discreetly communicating with our drivers. Quite often people want to ask for assistance, but they’re unsure how best to do it. While customers can, of course, just ask for any help they need, not everyone finds this easy, or is able to speak clearly. In these instances, these cards give people a way of asking for assistance in a simple, easy and discreet way.
“The cards have been really popular in South Yorkshire and we’ve received some fantastic feedback. We’re delighted to support International Day of People with Disabilities and looking forward to the launch of the video.”
John Birtwistle, President of the bus industry’s trade body, the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), said: “First Bus has led the industry in improving services for those with disabilities or travel difficulties. The company’s Journey Cards are a fantastic example of outstanding customer service and having been adopted by CPT are now being rolled out by many bus operators across the UK.”
Safe Journey Cards and Better Journey Cards are free of charge and can be printed directly by clicking on: https://www.firstgroup.com/uploads/node_images/Safe_Journey_Card.pdf