Travel mentoring service for disabled Londoners launches in Croydon
A travel mentoring service launched in Croydon today (Thursday 20 March 2014) aimed at helping disabled Londoners make the most of the capital by using the London bus network - one of the most accessible anywhere in the world.
The 'Bus Days', which provide disabled Londoners with the opportunity to experience independent travel on a London bus in a safe and controlled environment, are a collaboration between Transport for London (TfL), the Metropolitan Police Safer Transport Team, bus operator Arriva, Croydon Care Solutions and Croydon Council.
The new scheme in Croydon is one of nine similar projects already in place across the capital and is part of a huge programme of work by TfL to make the transport network accessible to everyone.
The session today, which was open to disabled individuals, disability groups and school groups of disabled students, saw a London bus follow a pre-planned route around Croydon town centre.
Passengers were able to get on and off the bus along the way and were accompanied by TfL travel mentors and Metropolitan Police Safer Transport Teams.
The travel mentors show participants how to use all the information at a bus stop - the routes, the bus numbers and local maps.
Passengers are also shown how to board the bus and stay safe while on it, and are given advice on crossing the road safely when off the bus.
Wheelchair users are guided through using the ramp to get on the bus and their safety while travelling.
Police officers also act out real life scenarios during the session that passengers may encounter on their bus journey - this may include dealing with instances of anti-social behaviour or ticket inspections.
In addition, Croydon's Road Safety Team undertake pedestrian safety on the street and advise participants how to handle situations.
Mike Weston, TfL's Director of Buses, said: `We are delighted to be part of the team that is bringing 'Bus Days' to Croydon for the first time.
`They provide a great opportunity for disabled Londoners to experience travelling on a bus in a supportive environment.
`We hope those who take part in this innovative scheme will find it a useful experience that will enable them to travel independently on the bus network in future.'
Councillor Margaret Mead, Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Health at Croydon Council, said: `This is an important initiative helping our vulnerable young people and adults to keep safe while they enjoy independence in making their way around the borough.
`It's a marvellous opportunity for people with disabilities to practise their travel training skills and I'm delighted that so many partner organisations have come together to make this possible.'
Noel Mulvihill, Director of Operations at Croydon Care Solutions, said: `Being at the forefront of travel training in London, we are delighted to be part of this initiative.
`Enabling progression and independence is our core purpose and learning to travel safely is a key aspect of this.
`It has been a great experience to work with partners at the council, Arriva, TfL and the Metropolitan Police to develop this opportunity for Croydon residents.'
- Two 'Bus Days' sessions will be held in Croydon on the third Thursday of every month
- To book a place on the Croydon 'Bus Day' or to find out more please contact Monica Clarke, Senior Travel Trainer, on 020 8255 5473 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- 'Bus Days' are also held in Enfield, Hackney, Kingston, Merton, Southwark, Wandsworth, Westminster & Camden, and Sutton
- London has one of the most accessible transport networks anywhere in the world. All 8,700 London buses are low-floor wheelchair accessible with ramps checked each day to ensure they are working, and more than 90 per cent of London residents live within 400 metres of a bus stop. The vast majority of these can be used by all bus passengers, including wheelchair users
- TfL's Travel Mentoring Service can offer advice to disabled individuals on planning a journey using an accessible route and can provide a mentor to accompany people on their first few journeys to help them gain confidence and become an independent traveller. Mentoring is free of charge and can be provided Monday-Friday from 08:00-18:00. The Travel Mentoring Service can be contacted on 020 3054 4361. For more information on travel mentoring, visit www.tfl.gov.uk
- Croydon Care Solutions is the main learning disability provider arm for Croydon Council