BUS drivers in Blackwood got a taste of what life is like for people with sight loss this week as they swapped places with their passengers.

Stagecoach in south Wales, Sight Cymru and RNIB Cymru teamed up for a special “Swap with Me” event designed to build understanding between drivers and bus users at the bus depot on Penmaen Industrial Estate.

Drivers were blindfolded to experience what it is like to navigate to and on a bus with sight loss, and visually impaired bus users learnt about the challenges of communicating with customers from the driver’s seat. Bus drivers also experienced wearing “sim specs” which simulate different types of eye conditions.

Throughout a ‘Swap with Me’ experience bus drivers are paired with a blind or partially sighted passenger so they can talk about how they feel and what advice can be shared.

Yvonne Laurent, from Caerphilly, was paired with driver Lyn Williams, 62, of Ynysddu.

Ms Laurent said: “Today was a good chance to help the drivers to learn how hard it is for blind people, from actually getting on the bus to finding a seat.

“When you ask for help, you’re putting responsibility on the driver. You have to look at it from the driver’s point of view, they don’t want to be responsible for someone.”

Angela Knowles, Development Manager for Sight Cymru, said: “The ‘Swap with Me’ event is a great way to promote a mutual understanding of the challenges experienced by passengers and bus drivers alike.”

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