Blind Burnley bus passenger’s safe seats plea

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A PENSIONER is calling for priority bus seats for blind people after being injured twice in the past year.

Brenda Midgley, who is registered blind, needs special wide-spaced seats so she can sit with her three-year-old guide dog Uska.

But on busy buses, she is often forced to sit on “tip-up” seats at the front, and she has twice been thrown to the floor and hurt.

As the vice-chairman of Burnley and District Blind Society, she is hoping bus company Transdev will listen to her concerns and give blind people the same priority offered to mothers and the elderly.

Mrs Midgley, of Bedfordshire Avenue, said: “I have had two accidents on the buses because I was sat on the tip-up seats with my dog at the front because he is too big to get into the seat spaces.

“The drivers are good but the brakes are so strong on the buses that you get thrown off the seats.

“There is no support there on those tip-up seats.”

She was left shaken up, battered and bruised, and said Uska was terrified of getting back on the buses with her.

She explained that on the third row back, there are seats by the emergency exit with more leg room – ideal for people with guide dogs.

However, with packed buses these are often taken up.

She went directly to the Transdev depot at Queensgate nearly 12 months ago to highlight the problem, and see if they would put labels on certain seats giving priority to blind bus users.

The company acknowledged her idea and said it would look into it.

Mrs Midgley said: “I want them to put labels on the seats. I just want to travel safely.”

Michelle Scott, marketing manager at Transdev, confirmed they had teamed up with guide dog charities to produce labels.

She said: “We are working with Guide Dogs for the Blind to design a sticker to put on trial on the buses. We want designs of stickers that people recognise.

“Once we’ve got a design we are happy with then we can roll it out on buses to trial it.

“We are taking advice from the charity as to the best place to put them.”