Visually impaired travelers have several options for transportation in urban and some rural areas. In an earlier post, tips for taking Uber were provided. Below, we will look at some tips for taking a bus. These are general instructions to help a traveler get a glimpse of what steps to take and what to expect as a traveler with a visual impairment.
Steps for Riding a Bus (Checklist)
Note: If you are traveling to an unfamiliar place, make sure to familiarize yourself with the features and landmarks of the area/building you will be traveling to. If available, use Google map’s Street View to preview the area. Note some of the landmarks nearby. Also keep the physical address and phone number of the location handy for quick reference.
- Find out the bus routes and pickup times for your city. If you are riding public transit after dusk, be sure you are wearing light colored clothing and/or signaling the driver with a lighted device (for example: a cell phone or flash light).
- Find out if you can get a free or discounted pass for buses in your neighborhood by reason of age, youth, student status, or disability, etc. You often can go to the main bus depot and purchase a discounted pass. Find out if it would be economical to get a pass or multi-trip ticket for your regular journeys.
- Find the nearest bus stop with the route that you need, and check the pickup time (both usually indicated on the bus stop or online). Make sure to catch the bus going in the desired direction.
- Dress for the weather so you are not uncomfortable while waiting for the bus to arrive or transferring to other buses.
- Get in line and get your money or pass ready.
- When the bus arrives, check the destination sign and route number on the bus to make sure it is the bus that you want (for low vision travelers).
- Move to the door nearest the driver. Let anyone off who is trying to get off the bus.
- Greet the bus driver.
- Lean in and ask the bus driver if the bus is heading to your stop (for low vision and totally blind travelers).
- Board the bus.
- Insert your money into the fare-box (little cash machine), or hand it to the driver, or show the pass to the driver. If you need a ticket for a transfer to another vehicle after that bus, ask the driver for one.
- Ask the bus driver to remind you of your stop.
- After paying, find a seat. Sit to the right of the driver in the seats where they can see you.
- If available use the Transit app or the Blindsquare app to listen out for upcoming stops.
- If you need to get off before the last stop, then pull a hanging cord or press a button to indicate to the driver that you want the bus to stop. Pull the cord or push the stop button when you're about a block from where you need to get off of the bus. If none of these items are available near your seat, alert the bus driver to your need to get off on an upcoming stop.
- When the bus stops, check where you were sitting to make sure you left nothing behind and thank the driver as you get off. Be sure to watch your step.
Sample Goal and Objectives
Goal 36: Demonstrate an improvement in using O&M skills necessary to travel on public transportation
Objectives: Accessing a bus, the student will:
- demonstrate the ability to carry appropriate items for bus trip (e.g., ID, emergency money, cane, low vision devices)
- demonstrate the ability to read and use a bus schedule (large print and/or Braille)
- demonstrate the ability to read and use a bus map for mass transit
- demonstrate the ability to locate and wait, in an appropriate manner, at a familiar bus stop
- demonstrate the ability to locate and read bus route numbers on bus-stop sign and/or on bus
- demonstrate the ability to safely board a bus, pay the fare, and locate a seat
- demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively with the bus driver.
- demonstrate the ability to safely exit a bus at the correct stop and maintain orientation after disembarking
- demonstrate the ability to travel instructor planned one-way routes
- demonstrate the ability to travel instructor planned round trip routes.
- demonstrate the ability to employ procedures if the planned bus stop is missed.
- demonstrate the ability to employ procedures if the student and instructor are separated during trip
- demonstrate the ability to locate return bus stops on unfamiliar routes
- demonstrate the ability to travel bus routes requiring bus transfers
- demonstrate the ability to self-plan, record, and execute bus routes
- demonstrate the ability to solicit assistance from the bus driver and/or other passengers
Sample goals and objectives taken from Colorado Department of Education.