STAFF from a York bus company have experienced blindness this weekend, to help them understand the needs of the visually impaired.

The First workers, including drivers, took part in the event at the James Street depot on Saturday with the Royal National Institute of Blind People's bus campaign, which calls on operators to 'Stop For Me, Speak To Me'.

The volunteers took part in blindfolded tasks including boarding a bus and paying for a ticket, to find out the experiences of their blind and partially-sighted customers.

Tracy Dearing from the RNIB, said: "Catching a bus should not be a sight test. Local bus travel is a lifeline, providing an important means of transport within the community for those who are not able to drive. Buses are often the only affordable way to travel independently to work, appointments or to visit friends and family. However, the difficulties blind and partially-sighted people face in making journeys, that other people often take for granted, are often avoidable."

The campaign was also supported by York Outer MP Hugh Bayley, who said: "Most of us can only imagine how difficult it is for blind and partially sighted people to board a bus, pay for a ticket and get off at the correct destination.

“I am glad drivers from First York have accepted the challenge. It will alert them to some of the many difficulties that blind and partially sighted people face when travelling by bus and it should help improve services in the future.”