Local Assembly member for Monmouth, Nick Ramsay, recently met with Andrea Gordon from The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association Cymru to discuss issues affecting the blind and visually impaired community in Monmouthshire.
Andrea, who visited the Assembly with her new guide dog, informed Nick of two of the group’s key campaigns.
The “talking bus scheme” is designed to announce the next bus stop on the route. The scheme would only cost around £300 to implement per bus and if introduced on buses throughout Monmouthshire would not only make travel much easier for the blind and visually impaired but may also have an additional benefit of assisting visitors who are unfamiliar with the area.
Nick was also alerted to the need for stronger implementation of the Disability Discrimination Act by local councils to ensure that any taxi drivers in Monmouthshire refusing to transport blind passengers and their guide dogs are suitably dealt with.
Commenting after the visit Nick said:
“I was pleased to have met with Andrea and learn more of the challenges facing the visually impaired community across Wales and particularly in Monmouthshire. Andrea is a true inspiration and an excellent advocate for the groups that she represents. I intend to talk to the Minister responsible to see what pressure can be placed on bus companies to implement the talking bus programme on any new vehicles that are purchased. I will also be talking to my colleagues at Monmouthshire County Council to ensure that taxi drivers are not able to flout the law when it comes to carrying blind passengers and their guide dogs.”