Continuous training for our drivers helps them deal with accessibility issues
As part of our continuous ongoing staff training and development programme, this week, together with colleagues from TfL, we conducted a Hello London Accessibility Forum at our Brixton garage, and invited our drivers to participate in the discussion.
Changes in the way access to buses is offered to wheelchair users means that all organisations involved in the delivery of these services have a duty to deliver, and to make their employees aware of the requirements and the necessity to offer them correctly.
TfL also invited some wheelchair users to attend to share their views and to meet with our staff.
We had a New Routemaster available for the Forum which we parked outside the garage, giving plenty of access to the ramp area of the vehicle. TfL displayed various messages relating to the accessibility issues and presented drivers with the latest information on the subject.
Driver Angela, one of the first to visit the Forum, was very interested in talking about some of the issues that she has encountered in her working day. She said:
"I always look out for wheelchair users as I approach the bus stops, but some days at really busy times it does become a bit of a challenge to see everyone within a crowd of customers. The wheelchair priority area is the only place on the bus where a wheelchair user can travel safely and, as drivers, we must ensure that we do our best to make the space available to them. I think these Forums are a really good idea, as they help to re-emphasise the details of the procedures we need to follow when a wheelchair user wishes to board our bus."
Michael, another Brixton driver who loves being a bus driver, explained:
"Every situation’s different, every day’s different, and that’s the beauty of my job. The Forum’s interesting as it’s a reminder to myself of the things I need to do. The wheelchair priority area can sometimes cause uncertainty amongst customers, but I find the best thing to do is get out of my cab and defuse any potential misunderstanding by talking it through. People like to see you taking charge; it means a lot to people."
We were fortunate to have both a wheelchair user and a mum with a buggy visit the Forum at the same time, which helped to demonstrate that the designated space provided can be utilised together.
Tanvi, one of the wheelchair users at the Forum, commented:
"I have seen an improvement in how drivers deal with the wheelchair/buggy situation over recent months. Also, I feel pleased to be a part of the Accessibility Forum (at Brixton Garage) to have an opportunity to help drivers and answer their questions."
If you would like to join our team of drivers and help everyone get access to our buses, then please visit our driver's careers page.
Published : Tue 11th May. 2010 - Thu 17th Jun. 2010