Jan 7, 2008

From a blind person's point of view

I received the following from Emily Green as a comment about a posting (Bus Drivers Must Call Out Stops After Lawsuit) on my blog. Rather than see it get buried in the comment section I decided to do it as a regular post.

Hi, Andy!

Thanks for posting this, I'm Legally blind myself, (I have the National CNIB card and I use a white cane, though I do have SOME usable vision) I don't agree with how David Lepofsky went about this, there is NO need to SUE and Transit agency, This whole thing has created animosity between drivers and the blind community, I am of a scant few, that have grown up around Transit Drivers, (HSR in Hamilton) and count many drivers as good close friends. I live in the Queensway division territory here in Toronto, I moved here for many reasons but the major one was the already accessible features of the TTC and the fact that at least here in Toronto there are ways to live independently.. I've studied how a driver is supposed to call a stop, I feel that using the handset takes a hand off the wheel and concentration off both the road and the bus as well as the Drivers surroundings, I've spoken with the H&S rep for Queensway as well as numerous drivers and have achieved this opinion, The Automated System is in nearly all the buses now (January 7th 2008) and is VERY helpful, but still has it's flaws and missed stop calls and too much volume changes on different buses, some stops are VERY loud and some you can barely hear. I miss the drivers quietly asking me when I'm getting on, "what stop would you like off at?" I come from a city where NO stops are called and blind people are left up to our own devices usually. So to come to Toronto and find drivers asking me where I'd like off felt a bit strange at first, now it feels nice.

Emily Green



Emily thanks for taking the time to read and leave a comment on my blog. When I worked for the TTC, it was common to have vision impaired people riding my bus almost every day. The numbers were greater, in Toronto over Durham Region. I always found it amazing how they were able to get around. The TTC drivers were always more than willing to assist them when needed.

Many times I used to drive Specialized Service bus (Handi-Trans) in Durham. There was a lady (completely blind) that used to ride the bus and she astonished me how she handled her disability. She was so good at it that some of the drivers were fooled into think that she did not need assistance.

I found out first hand of the problems that people have with little or no vision. A few years back my retina became detached. Fortunately it was caught in time. With surgery it was re-attached. During the healing period my vision was not good. I soon learned to use things that I had taken for granted before. Things such as the yellow markings on the roadside curbs. They warned me that I should lift my feet to get over the curve. My vision is now back to normal thanks to a special lens in my eyeglasses.

1 comment:

Bus Operator Dave said...

I don't think a driver calling out bus stops, or cross streets is wise. There are enough distractions behind the wheel and enough to occupy the bus driver's day without adding to it. In my experience as a transit driver, anyone who doesn't know where they are going, whether they be blind, new to the city or a confused tourist, can always ask the driver upon boarding. It is more personable, and usually results in more accurate direction for the passenger. Repeat passengers, which comprises 93% of the riders in most transit operations, know where they are going anyway, and don't want to have to listen to the constant commentary from the speakers, whether it be the driver, or an automated system. One disgruntled passenger's day in court shouldn't dictate what everyone else has to put up with on their daily commute.