Xplore Dundee is making public transport more accessible for people of all ages and abilities thanks to its training scheme for customers with mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs. The initiative has been running for the past five years and it has been shortlisted for the Scottish Transport Awards 2018, in the ‘Accessibility Project of the Year’ category.
“We work hard to make our buses accessible for as many customers as possible, and our mobility training is an important part of that. Our driving instructors have been offering bespoke training to people with electric scooters and wheelchairs for five years now and it is really fantastic to hear how life-changing this assistance can be,” said Elsie Turbyne, Xplore Dundee managing director.
The training sessions show mobility scooter or electric wheelchair users how to safely board the bus via the ramp operated by the driver, park the scooter in the allocated area and disembark. Once these three skills have been learned, the passenger receives a permit which is valid for use on all Xplore buses and many other operators’ vehicles. The card is shown to the driver to prove that the passenger and their scooter are capable of boarding a low floor bus.
Moreover, the training has recently been extended to patients receiving treatments at the TORT Centre at Ninewells. Driving Instructors take a bus to the hospital and make it available for new wheelchair users to practice boarding and disembarking so that they’re more comfortable with using public transport.
Apart from offering training sessions for customers, Xplore Dundee also makes sure that each driver undergoes disability awareness training, including education on mental health issues and hidden illnesses. For example, drivers and managers recently undertook ‘Swap with Me’ training with RNIB Scotland to allow them a real-life glimpse of what it’s like to travel on the bus as a blind or partially sighted person.
Xplore Dundee has a fleet of 100% low-floor vehicles and welcomes passengers with wheelchairs as well as CPT-compliant mobility scooters. Anyone with a scooter of the correct size and weight is entitled to receive the training, which is arranged at a time and place to suit the customer.