As a girl with a visual impairment, having tech on bus journeys or train journeys are key to my ability to be independent. If such an option isn’t available then I will set myself up to use another method of knowing my location and when or where I am to get off.
so imagine my surprise and upset when half way through a bus journey yesterday evening, I find that the audio has stopped?
I was travelling to an poorly lit area, I had Fizz with me and as I got on the bus I checked with the driver that audio was on. And as we set off, the audio read out the next stop, confirming what the driver had told me. All good, I could feel safe and secure that I could just sit enjoying the ride and await my stop to be read out.
There seemed to be a long pause in the audio. I checked with another passenger sat near me and he confirmed that the screen (as the audio on buses is teamed with a visual; just like on the train) was reading the next stop, but he hadn’t been paying attention and didn’t know where we were as he was getting off at the last stop, so didn’t need to know.
it was then moments later that the audio returned, only to read out a destination that was much further along the route, a good 45 minute walk back to where I needed to be if I had got off then!
so instead I travelled back to the bus station and started the journey again.
This time, when I got on the bus I asked the driver for my specific stop and asked him to ensure that he stopped there for me, he said the bus had audio, but understood my concern following my previous journey.
The audio on this bus was on, it also continued to detail each and every stop, so I was aware of where I was and when I was due to get off.
I put it down to a glitch and having safely arrived at my destination all be it an hour later, I forgot all about it.
That was until this evening. This time I was travelling with my son home after a shopping trip. Again, it was dark but I was more aware of my surroundings as it is a journey I have done thousands of times.
Again, the bus left the station and the audio announced the next stop. This continued until just before we were due to get off the bus, we were literally around the corner and the audio stopped. I could work out roughly were we were, and having stopped at several stops to let people in and off of the bus, there were no further announcements.
Thankfully a block of flats lit the way to enable me to work out that we were approaching our stop. But again, the audio had let me down.
Memtioning it to the driver as we got off the bus he simple said “I don’t pay any attention, I couldn’t tell you it had stopped.”
So, what is a gal to do?
I shall be sending this blog to the bus company, is it just really bad luck that I have encountered this issue? Is it a relay issue with the bus audio?
I know that my hearing is going, but to hear the audio and then to not hear the audio….., that isn’t me?
I feel that I am not able to trust the audio on my bus journeys anymore, and with the dark early evenings. This is making me feel that going out after dark isn’t an option. Or do I just walk?
Lots of questions. But I am totally stuck with whatever I do.