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GO GEORGE gaining insights from passengers with disabilities

A group of people walking together. There are people using wheelchairs and a blind person is walking arm in arm with a lady wearing a GO GEORGE uniform.
The group departing from the Optima Centre in high spirits – the more experienced passengers very eager to share their superior knowledge.

A recent bus trip to the Garden Route Mall was as could be expected an enjoyable outing for the young adults with disabilities who attend activities at the Optima Centre of the George Association for Persons with Disabilities (APD) in Pacaltsdorp, but at the same time a most informative feedback opportunity for the GO GEORGE bus service.

As part of ongoing engagement with the disability sector, GO GEORGE accompanied the group of 22 Optima attendees and two staff members on a scheduled bus trip, departing from a bus stop close to the centre. Some of them have never been on the bus before.

Even the wait at the bus stop brought a smile to many faces, listening to Robin Mouton, an inspiring and resourceful blind passenger motivating one of the communication team members to pursue a passion for music – a topic of which he has a vast knowledge and understanding.

This time was also used constructively to educate the youngsters about the facilities aimed towards universal accessibility such as the tactile paving at the bus stop, the elevated platform to reduce the step-up into the bus, audio alerts that the ramp is being deployed and not ready yet for boarding by either blind passengers or people using mobility devices. General tips on using the service included where to look for the right bus and route, how to scan the Smart Card and the use of the priority seats for passengers with special needs, as well as using the button to request the bus to stop.

Back at Optima after the outing, the G0 GEORGE team conducted an informal feedback session with the group to evaluate their experience and to inform future support and guidance regarding their use of the bus service.

“Time spent with our passengers who have special needs always leaves us with much to think about,” says James Robb, GO GEORGE Manager. “The system has been designed to be as user friendly as possible for all our passengers, but it would be presumptuous to assume that we have thought of everything and that all needs are being addressed. GO GEORGE values and encourages feedback from all categories of bus users and continually aims to improve the service accordingly where possible.”

Anyone needing more information about the bus service is welcome to phone the GO GEORGE Call Centre on 0800 044 044, visit this website, or follow the Facebook page to stay up to date with the latest bus news and service notifications.

A group of people waiting at a bus stop, talking to one another.
Waiting for the bus was the perfect time to answer questions and share user information with the less experienced passengers.

 

A woman wearing a GO GEORGE uniform is indicating to the bus stop information board with 3 people looking at her.
Khadija Luangula (GO GEORGE communications champion) took time to explain to the three first-time passengers how to use the bus. They are from the left, Shannon Fielies, Lubabalo Langbooi and Nigel Makenna.

 

A person sits safely strapped into his wheelchair inside a bus.
Xavier Esterhuizen is an old hand at travelling with the bus and needed no assistance to dock and fasten his wheelchair in the dedicated space.

 

A group of people sitting outside on the verandah of a Mc Donald’s restaurant, all smiles and eating ice-cream cones. A wheelchair is visible in the foreground.
The one-hour trip validity gave the group from Optima just enough time to have a quick ice cream at Mc Donald’s before getting on the bus back to Pacaltsdorp without having to pay again.

 

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