Bus company in bid to remove travel barriers for passengers with additional needs

By Amanda Wilkins - 24 May 2024


Working in partnership, Swindon’s Bus Company joined Swindon Borough Council and Stagecoach West this week, as part of its work together ensuring the best possible accessibility for all potential users of public transport across the Borough.

The local operator took one of its vehicles to a special event at the council’s offices and hosted a session designed to make boarding buses a simple and straightforward process for people with learning disabilities and for those with autism. 

Recognising public transport as an enabler, representatives from both operators were also on-hand to receive feedback about its services from those attending the event - which was organised by Swindon Borough Council, along with Experts by Experience on the Learning Disability Partnership. Swindon Borough Council sees the two-way conversation as essential to making transport better. 

Swindon’s Bus Company general manager, Andrew Sherrington said: “Buses, and other public transport, are at the heart of how many of us live our lives - helping us get to work, school or college, healthcare commitments, and social events.

“We want public transport to be truly inclusive, and those with learning disabilities or autism to be able to travel as confidently as other passengers. At present, there are people with disabilities - some of which we can’t necessarily see - who don’t feel confident, and we want to change that. 

“Our team found the event incredibly useful, in terms of understanding the needs and concerns of those attending. We hope bringing the bus along also gave people the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the bus boarding process - and that they will be travelling with us across Swindon very soon.”

Councillor Chris Watts, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for the Environment and Transport, said: “It is really important that we have a public transport service that is accessible to all, so I am really pleased we were able to connect members of the Experts by Experience group with the bus companies so they could explain at first hand some of the challenges they face and what could make life easier for them.

“The starting point for behavioural change has to be a desirable service. We are also inviting the community to engage with the bus companies through the Get Swindon Moving Community Group, and you can find more information at letstalk.swindon.gov.uk/public-transport-in-the-community .”

Lily O’Brien, Expert by Experience on the Learning Disability Partnership, said “It’s good to have events like this – to help the disabled community feel included in making the local bus company more accessible. I even learnt a couple of new things.” 

For more information about the Learning Disability Partnership, please contact [email protected], and for information about Swindon’s Bus Company, visit swindonbus.co.uk



Your Comments

Be the first to comment on this article

Login or Register to post a comment on this article

Subscribe to The Link

Registered in England & Wales. No: 4513027, Positive Media Group, Old Bank House, 5 Devizes Road, Old Town, Swindon, SN1 4BJ