Helping Hand accessibility card07 Mar 2018
Accessibility card removes the need for explanations
The Helping Hand accessibility card has been developed by one of the UK’s bus companies, to allow passengers who need some assistance to communicate with the driver, without having to verbally explain their disability.
It is being launched at a time when the Department for Transport is considering a single, universal accessibility card which would be recognised by all bus service providers across the country.
The pioneering card has been developed in partnership with user groups and charities, and is designed to address the fact that many disabilities are not immediately obvious.
Rather than labelling a customer’s condition, bespoke messages on the cards focus on the type of help required, such as:
- Please be patient I’m confused
- Please wait until seated
- Please speak clearly, I lip read
- Help count my change
- Please lower the step
- Priority seating required
People living with conditions such as cystic fibrosis, epilepsy, dementia or autism and passengers who are partially sighted or hard of hearing, could all benefit from using a Helping Hand accessibility card.
Following its roll-out across the Go-Ahead Group, Helping Hand will be available to more than 800,000 passengers taking journeys every day.
The Helping Hand accessibility card is unbranded, so it could be used on other operators’ services. It is made of sturdy plastic and printed in bold black type on a high-visibility yellow background – colours recommended by groups representing partially sighted people.
The roll-out of the card comes as the Department for Transport examines options to improve the accessibility of public transport in the wake of the recent Bus Services Bill.
Go-Ahead has made the design of the card, and its expertise in this area, available to ministers.
The company’s drivers are trained in assisting people living with dementia or those who are blind and partially sighted. Buses also have ramps for wheelchairs as standard.
The pioneering initiative was awarded gold status at the UK Bus Awards 2016 for the Bus and Community category.
How to obtain a Helping Hand assistance card
The Helping Hand scheme is now available across Go-Ahead’s services, including Brighton & Hove, MetroBus, konect, Headingham and Chambers, Go North East, Salisbury Reds, Morebus, Thamesdown, Bluestar, Southern Vectis, MetroBus, Oxford Bus Company and Plymouth Citybus.
You can apply for a free card online, by using this link* *Please note this links to a Brighton & Hove webpage, however, you can still apply for the card through this link
Or if you prefer, you can phone 01273 886200.
Application forms should also be available at participating bus depots.