One Voice was involved along with many disabled people, in putting forward suggestions to make the new bus station less of a barrier for disabled people.
The project was called The Interchange Project – because it was supposed to enable passengers to easily change from bus to train to metro (if the Metro ever gets the funding to extend).
On the day the bus station opened, many passengers found that their buses no longer stopped at the bus station – there was no interchange at all – just a
chaos of buses outside the Art Gallery. So now, many people have to go much further to get to the train station than before. Perhaps the project should have been called the ignoring-the-passengers project.
Not content with making this change, the bus company decided to changes the numbers and routes of most buses. There was a leaflet about these changes that came out 2 weeks before – so people had some notice. The leaflet though, was not called “changes to bus service” it was called “a fresh start”, so most bus users didn’t pick it up. The changes in number and service have been condusing to every passenger we have met on buses.
Now we have the passenger-unfriendly situation of more buses stopping or waiting in Lichfield street than there is room for. So some stop away from the bus stop, or change which end of the bus shelter they stop at, because of lack of space – this makes it much more difficult for blind and visually impaired and mobility impaired people to use the bus – it is also very stressful for all bus users. Sometimes, a bus will stop in the right place, and the driver will get out and passengers have to wait for a new driver.
This isn’t a fresh start, it is a fresh hell, and it seems to have been done without any consultation with passengers. It has made huge new barriers to using the bus service for many disabled people and others.
It is not the way to make sustainable change.