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March 17, 2016
Extending a helping hand for the good of the city

Brighton and Hove Buses, Accessability, Streamline Taxis, 2015

It goes without saying that in business we need to explore new territories and ways of thinking – even going as far as being counterintuitive.

It’s a part of setting ourselves ever higher standards of service for customers.

We are a bus operator, so you could be forgiven for thinking we are just about running buses. However, we aspire to play our part in providing a transport system that not only meets the city’s needs but excels at doing so.

We believe we have a responsibility for stepping outside our public transport world and actively participating in the life of the city. After all, we have been part of it for more than 80 years and this city is our future.

So, when I was approached by a local taxi firm to work with them to offer a better service to our passengers, it felt like a prime opportunity to deliver an enhanced approach to transport in the city. For the bus company, the goal is to provide seamless travel for all the city’s residents and visitors – whatever their choice of transport. I was more than happy to collaborate.

It was the city’s longest standing taxi firm Streamline that approached me to see if they could come on board with our ‘Helping Hand’ scheme.

‘Helping Hand’ is an initiative designed to make travelling by bus easier for people with accessibility needs. It’s proving valuable for an increasing number of people – over 3,000 passengers are using the scheme now. All the other local bus operators have joined in too.

It’s very simple. A bright yellow pocket-sized card that carries a customised message to the driver. So, it doesn’t label people. It discretely asks for a specific action that will be helpful to the passenger – and discretion is something they tell us is extremely important to them.

It’s such a simple idea but it makes a big difference to users – and to drivers.

Like us, the taxi firm has shown its commitment to the city over many years and in many ways. Together we want to help our city to grow and thrive. After all, collaboration and partnership is the way we do things around here, isn’t it?

We have already worked together with other bus operators. We have our multi-operator ticketing in the city so passengers can jump from one operator to another using the same ticket. More bus companies are joining in too.

So, why wouldn’t we collaborate for the good of the city? Even if to some, it may seem counterintuitive to work in partnership with a ‘competitor’.

I’d welcome your thoughts @citybusnews