MP Richard Fuller took part in a ‘Blind Fold’ walk in Bedford and is to campaign for audio visual prompts on buses for the visually impaired.
Mr Fuller walked through the centre of Bedford blindfolded after Putnoe resident Barbara Norton encouraged him to experience firsthand the challenges that blind and partially-sighted people have in getting around.
He said: “A few weeks ago, I asked questions in Parliament about the Government’s plans to roll out audio visual prompts in buses, and having caught the bus into town as part of the ‘Blind Fold’ walk, I now appreciate how helpful it would be to have my stop announced. We have “Talking Buses” in London, so why not in Bedford?
“In a truly equal society, getting from A to B should not require such exertion. There are so many small changes that could make such journeys easier. I would like to try and help make those changes.”
Barbara Norton who is visually impaired and uses a guide dog said: ”Guide Dogs for the Blind are campaigning for a change in the law to make audio and visual information available on board buses across the UK so I summoned up my courage and got in touch with Richard. He agreed to do a walk completely blindfolded - he was such a good sport!
“Audio visual prompts are so important to help visually impaired people use public transport with confidence. It is a vitally important issue as they help with navigation and the practicalities of knowing where you are, and the right stop to get off at.”
Barbara also had a message for the Mayor of Bedford regarding the town’s pavements.
She said: “I’ve broken a bone in my foot, and also my left arm, by using greasy and uneven pavements - it would be greatly appreciated if footpaths could be maintained to a better standard than they are at the present moment.”
However, the day was not without mishaps, as Mr Fuller MP said: “What I learned was you can never be certain something new might not be in your way. I did apologise to a street sign for bumping into it.”
For more information visit https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/supportus/campaigns/talkingbuses/