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Bus drivers’ awareness drive for older passengers’ needs

A new accessibility awareness training programme has been launched for bus drivers in London. TfL developed the new course, All Aboard!, with passengers, Transport for All and Age UK London. 

All drivers across the TfL network will be trained with the new resource by 2014. It will cover the need for patience, how to manage wheelchair ramps properly, and issues affecting people with dementia. 

London buses are already fitted with next stop audio and visual announcements for passengers who are hearing or visually impaired. 

Mike Weston, director of buses, Transport for London, said: “We understand how important the bus network is to many older and disabled passengers. The fleet is already the most accessible in the UK with low floor wheelchair accessible buses fitted with retractable ramps. We have made more bus stops accessible than ever before and we have even more on the way. 

“We also realise it is equally important to invest in bus staff. It is the drivers who are delivering the service and who can make a big difference to passengers who experience challenges using the network. This training demonstrates that a driver taking a little time, using respect and their own initiative, can make all the difference in the world to many older and disabled passengers.” 

Sam Mauger, CEO, Age UK London, said: “We are encouraged that older people have been given the opportunity to influence bus driving training. Buses are a lifeline to many older people but confidence in the bus driver makes the difference between making a journey or not. This is a great step forward in making people feel safe on our London buses.” 

Faryal Velmi, director, Transport for All, said: “We have lobbied for this to be introduced and believe it will be a powerful resource in educating drivers about the lives and needs of their disabled and older passengers”. 

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