RNIB Bus campaign
“Stop for me, Speak to me”
Two weeks of action draws to a close
Friday 2nd August saw the close of phase on of this campaign two weeks of intense action that had taken us, the blind, ably lead by regional Campaign Officers, national RNIB staff, family friends, and supporters, to various locations across the country Starting in Stoke on Trent, with the last swap meet being in Hull on 1st August, and an appearance on you and yours on 2 August by Nicola Doige to talk to the world about our dreams, desires and why we are gathering evidence for the DfT.
Friday also saw colleges and I back on familiar ground, well sort of.
We left the RNIB Birmingham offices armed with long canes and bus inhalers, and walked to the City center where we took a National Express (WM) bus no 61 from Small brook Queensway to Selly Oak.
We gave the driver the minimal information about where we wanted to go or how much we knew, our sighted “protectors” hanging back and posing as just another passenger.
The ride to Selly Oak, home of Birmingham University was fast and smooth, the driver stopped and told us that if we wanted the no 11 A we should alight here or if we wanted the no 11C (this until recently was the longest bus route in the world, almost 28 miles with the A bus running Anti-Clockwise and the C bus running clockwise.
We opted for the latter so he pulled away to the a stop about 400 yards further along the road, he stopped adjacent to the kerb, ensured that we knew where to go and which bus stop we needed, this was a bonus as the bus shelters were both overgrown by ivy and overhanging trees making finding them difficult and even for our “protectors” confirming the bus stop was correct was a virtual impossibility.
It is worth noting that aseriers of controlled pedestrian crossings across the A38 a fast dual carriage way leading to south Birmingham and beyond were not working and we had to rely upon our “protectors”
After a short wait the no 11c arrived stopped adjacent to the stop with again the driver, without prompting confirming that his was the no 11c service and after a brief discussion confirming he would ensure we left at the right bus stop for our onward connection.
Again he waited until we were seated, then pulled away, the ride was smooth and comfortable, the bus was busy, but he still found time after others had alighted to confirm we had reached our destination and he directed us to where the bus stop was for our onward journey.
We crossed the road using a dark smelly underpass not for the faint hearted, to reach the stop for the No 9.
This bus arrived and drew close to the kerb, we were at the back of the line so were the last boarding, the lady bus driver again without prompting confirmed that she was driving an no9 and when asked confirmed her final destination in Birmingham City center.
She waited till we were seated drew away and we had a very pleasant journey all the way back to Birmingham City center.
On this occasion we made good time, no hold ups and made very good connections.
There is however a theme when we complete the data gathering from on our trips.
Information or rather the lack of it, which I will blog about later, but save to say the situation is deplorable with no real time live information, no talking buses and no talking buss tops to help the VI passenger.