University of Sussex Students' Newspaper

‘Safety Bus’ comes to campus to raise awareness of blind spots.

Jessica Hubbard

ByJessica Hubbard

Nov 2, 2017

Brighton and Hove Council representatives, the fire service, police and B&H buses were on campus to raise awareness of blind spots for cyclists.

They were giving out free hi-viz vests, backpack covers and accessories to students and staff to make them more visible on their commute to and from University.

The timing of their visit coincides with the end of daylight saving time in the UK, which means many students will now commute in the dark.

The Vice-chancellor also got in on the action and sat in the driver’s seat of the ‘safety bus’.

The exercise aimed to show students that bus drivers simply can not see them when they’re in a ‘blind spot’.

Having taken part in the activity of sitting in the driver’s seat and checking the wing mirror for a volunteer cyclist, students saw firsthand why blind spots are a problem and why more people should be aware of them.

The B&H buses team also told The Badger about the ‘Plan B’ scheme. This comes in the form of a small booklet that anyone can keep in their wallet.

It provides details about the last buses so they do not have to get into a car drunk, or with a drunk driver after a night out.

Victoria Garcia, Accessibility and Communities Officer for Brighton and Hove Buses and Metro Bus was also present.

She told The Badger that she is the only dedicated bus accessibility advisor in the country.

She also talked about the importance of accessibility initiatives, rather than turning them into ‘tick box’ exercises and token measures, especially in the case of less visible disabilities.

During the summer, Ms Garcia was awarded an ‘Everywoman in Transport and Logistics Award’, recognising her work in initiatives such as the ‘Helping Hand Scheme’.

The scheme involves giving those with accessibility issues a yellow card.

The card can be attached to a lanyard or shown to a bus driver to indicate that the commuter requires extra assistance i.e. lowering the wheelchair ramp or being seated before the bus pulls away.

The card can bear a custom message and anyone can request one from the company.

She also talked of plans to make the card into an app, much like B&H Buses’ ‘M-Ticket’ app.

Garcia also works directly with charities to uncover the needs of disabled individuals.

B&H buses also facilitates ‘confidence building workshops’ for those with disabilities or genuinely afraid of using the buses.

Students can visit the B&H Buses website for more information on accessibility, the Plan B scheme and other initiatives.

Jessica Hubbard

By Jessica Hubbard

Print Production Editor at The Badger. Third-year International Relations and International Development student. Time served at The Badger: since 2016. I like cooking, baking, and bringing cakes to Badger meetings!

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