With the ever increasing cost of motoring the bus is back in vogue with many commuters. Travelling by bus if you are deaf or hearing impaired can be a challenge but there are ways of making things run as smoothly as possible.
Since April 2008 deaf and hearing impaired passengers,along with other disabled bus passengers, are entitled to a free off peak bus pass,allowing them to travel on any bus service in England between 9.30am and 11pm Monday to Friday and anytime at weekends. Some local authorities also offer free bus passes to companions of disabled passengers, but this is at their discretion and something that they are not obliged to do.
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On The Bus
If you need to purchase a ticket from the driver and have difficulty speaking, it can be useful to write down what ticket you require and show the note to the driver. Remember, not all bus companies give change and expect passengers to have the correct fare for their journey.
Modern buses are fitted with illuminated bus stopping signs near the front of the bus that light up when a passenger pushes the stop button. If you are unsure of where the bus stop is for the location you wish to visit, request that the driver lets you know when the bus has arrived.
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It is also a good idea to know the approximate journey time to your destination, by looking up the timetable, so you can be alert to the signal from the driver when you are near. For this reason it is advisable to sit near the front and preferably where the driver can see you in the mirror, as this will act as a constant reminder to tell you that your destination has been reached.
Many bus companies have drivers who have completed training which includes dealing with issues faced by deaf and hearing impaired passengers. Some deaf and hearing impaired bus passengers say they are embarrassed to ask a driver to repeat the answer to a question that they have asked if they did not hear it the first time. As outlined above, many drivers have received disability awareness training, so try and overcome any shyness that you may feel.
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Passenger Information At Bus Stops And Travel Centres
Most modern bus shelters have been fitted with visual passenger information systems to inform passengers when the next few buses will arrive at the stop, along with their destination and if there are any delays. This is of great help as passengers who are deaf or have a hearing impairment can get ready to board just prior to the bus arriving and do not have to keep watching down the road for their bus to come into view.
Many travel information telephone lines are able to use text telephones or the Royal National Institute for the Deaf’s typetalk system, making communication significantly easier for deaf and hearing impaired bus passengers. At most travel information offices there is an induction loop system in operation. If you switch your hearing aid to ‘T’ this will amplify the sound.