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Blind People Applaud ChCh Bus Exchange Development

Association Of Blind Citizens Of New Zealand

Blind people congratulate Christchurch City Council for Innovative Bus Exchange Development

For the second consecutive year the Association of Blind Citizens has given its prestigious "Extra Touch Award" to the city of Christchurch. This year's recipient is the Christchurch City Council, for the provision of an information service, which benefits blind, and vision impaired bus users. The new bus exchange features spoken bus route information, available to blind people by way of two special keypads which when activated, provide spoken destination based information.

"We are regular users of public transport services and the Christchurch City Council receives our award due to its taking the lead in enabling blind people to gather bus information independently and safely," Vaughan Dodd, Association President said. "The Association challenges other local authorities to improve access to public transport information, and our 16 branches are ready to play their part" Mr Dodd added.

Ways in which public transport services can be improved for blind people include announcements at bus stops and railway stations, as well as ticket vending machines which have raised keypads and speech output which confirms the progress of the transaction.

The Association's Canterbury Branch has been active in working with the Christchurch City Council to ensure that the bus exchange development is user-friendly to blind people. "The Association urges all involved to commit to expanding accessible bus information and electronic ticketing to all locations within city's transportation network," Mr Dodd said.

The presentation was made to the City Council at the Association's annual Conference Dinner, held this year at the Sudima Grand Chancellor in Christchurch. The previous year's recipient was Christchurch Public Hospital, for its installation of tactile signs at each level alongside every set of lift doors.

The Extra Touch Award is presented in acknowledgement of a demonstrated commitment on the part of the recipient to go that "extra mile" to enable blind people to participate in the community. "In both the hospital and bus exchange instances, the participation of blind people to bring about improved accessibility is a positive demonstration of what can be achieved when blind people are involved early on in facility planning and design" Mr Dodd concluded.

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