Brighton & Hove Buses has successfully tested an industry-leading hearing loop system for its buses after three years of painstaking development with experts in the field and a leading bus manufacturer.
The bus company has been working tirelessly with Contacta, Wrightbus and Action on Hearing Loss to develop a good quality system that could be rolled out across its fleet.
Fifteen service users from Action on Hearing Loss tested the new system in the priority seating area of a Brighton & Hove Bus and has passed it with flying colours.
Brighton & Hove Buses’ Managing Director Martin Harris said: “We’ve wanted to do this for so long. We’re all about making travel accessible for all and have successfully launched a host of pioneering initiatives to help make independent travel a reality for people living with disabilities.
“Having a good quality hearing loop system on board our buses has been on our list for some time. My colleagues Victoria Garcia, Ashley Burrows and Neil Miles have worked closely with users, the manufacturer and the specialist system designer to get it to the standard it needs to be.
“I’m proud of the unstinting commitment they have shown to making this happen and to establish a true benchmark for the industry that meets customer requirements.”
Jenny Macintosh, a volunteer with Action on Hearing Loss, said: “The loop system is really important because if there’s a lot of noise on the bus or people are standing in front of visual announcements, then I can switch the hearing loop on and get important next stop information.
“It makes life so much less worrying. Imagine going to the airport and not being able to see the announcements about your flight. The bus company has worked tirelessly to come up with a system that is a good standard.”
The hearing loop system will amplify audio next stop and other announcements on board the bus as well as driver communications with them through the safety screen for people wearing hearing aids.
The first new higher-spec loop system will be fitted to all new buses including those recently delivered to operate on services 1,7 and 49.
Head of Accessibility and Inclusive Travel Alison Frank from the Department of Transport has cited Brighton & Hove Buses as exemplars of accessibility initiatives.
To mark Deaf Awareness Week this week, Brighton & Hove Buses and Action on Hearing Loss will be on hand with a bus at Stop D in Churchill Square this Thursday from 11.00 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. Members of the public are invited to try out the bus loop system, take advantage of free hearing checks, lip-reading and sign taster sessions, and find out about the latest assistive technology and lots of other useful information and advice.