Blackpool Transport first learned about First Group’s ‘safe journey card’ when it was discussed at the first Disability Action Alliance meeting in November 2012. First Group were interested in working with the Alliance to extend a ‘journey card’ more widely to ensure it is available to disabled people, supported independent travel, and could be used on various modes of transport.
Blackpool Transport felt the card had great potential for improving customer service and enhancing the travelling experience for disabled people, especially for those with hidden impairments. After talking to a number of local community groups and being met with an enthusiastic and positive response from everyone, they decided to adopt and customise the card and introduce it for bus users in Blackpool.
Blackpool Transport officially launched their ‘safe journey card’ at Disability First (who are also Alliance members) on Monday 10th June. Blackpool transport will continue to monitor the card’s usage and adapt and amend it as necessary to ensure that it meets the needs of its customers.
As well as introduce the card, Blackpool Transport is also raising awareness of disability among its drivers, ensuring they recognise the card and what to do when a passenger presents one.
On the journey card, Bryan Lindop from Blackpool Transport said “The simplicity of the scheme is one of its greatest strengths along with the modest cost involved to achieve it. The enormous benefits to our staff were also perceived to be one of the instant gains from such a system. We are providing training information packages for all our drivers in order to ensure that they fully understand the system, enabling them to maximise the value of the scheme.”
Stephen Brookes from the Blackpool Transport Passenger Focus Panel “This is a real landmark occasion both for people in Blackpool and also for the Disability Action Alliance due to the hard work that members of the Alliance have put in to making this a reality – it is a great example of how working in partnership can make a real difference”.
Esther McVey MP, Minister for Disabled People, who couldn’t make the launch said “‘I am particularly pleased that the Safe Journey Card has been inspired by one of the projects of the new Disability Action Alliance. This initiative demonstrates what can be achieved when like-minded organisations work together to make a difference. I am sure that many disabled people will appreciate the efforts of Blackpool Transport, Disability First, and others, for making this Card a reality”.
The Alliance project involves Blackpool Transport, First Group, and the Disability Hate Crime Network. More actions are planned to promote use of a journey card and make it as accessible as possible. For more information on this project you can either contact the project members or the Alliance Secretariat.
You can download a PDF of the card by visiting the Blackpool Transport website at: http://www.blackpooltransport.com/SafeJourney.aspx