I’m raising this issue on behalf of disabled service users of Harrow Mencap: What work is being done with bus companies to ensure bus drivers are more sensitive to the needs of disabled passenger, for example driving up close to the kerb, being more patient and driving slower.
All disabled and older people should be able to travel in London with freedom and independence. Bus drivers play a vital role in this and Transport for London (TfL) is committed to ensuring they are trained to offer the support people need.
All new bus drivers receive accessibility training by their operators to make them aware of the range of disabled passengers that they might need to look out for and the need to be patient and attentive with them. Training is reinforced by the drivers’ ‘The Big Red Book’ manual, which provides guidance on how drivers can assist passengers in a wide range of scenarios. TfL worked with disabled people’s organisations like Guide Dogs and Transport for All to ensure their feedback was included in the new edition, which now includes more detailed guidance and is a key tool in the continued drive to raise standards and improve the journey experience for passengers.
Between 2016 and 2018, TfL and London’s bus operators invested in training for all 25,000 London bus drivers to improve and enhance the customer experience. Called ‘Hello London’, the two-day training gave drivers support and advice on how to provide a good experience when interacting with all customers and features information about how drivers can support disabled customers. TfL is also planning a new Disability Equality Training programme for all bus drivers next year that will expand on the Hello London training and particularly focus on service for disabled and older customers.