National Express buses operate throughout Scotland. It's some years since I used one of their buses because the service here is poor and it takes three times longer to Dundee than it does by car. Quite a few of my friends use their transport though because they live in a city environment.
Now National Express, Dundee has introduced a Safe Travel Card. This can be shown to the driver on boarding the bus to easily ask for extra time to sit down.
The manager of the local Age Concern centre seemingly thinks this project is - as we say in Scotland - 'braw'.
''Public transport is essential for older people, It allows them to access services and to lead an active life.
This National Express initiative is an encouraging development,''
The bus company's health and safety director said: "The Safe Travel Card takes the guesswork out of this issue for drivers. It means vulnerable passengers can simply show the card and make their needs known without a lot of fuss and explanation."
Firstly I disagree that public transport is for older people. The buses here are used by a mix of ages.
Secondly, are the National Express drivers unable to see all their passengers? What guesswork is involved? Surely it's obvious to the driver when a passenger has any difficulty boarding a bus? The infirm and frail users will always sit on the lower deck of the bus and I understand the driver can observe the whole of the lower floor with one glance.
One of the commenters on the Courier article mentions '...Many have nothing but contempt for those who travel free...' But nobody travels free on any public transport. Local councils subsidise the older generation's bus passes and I would have thought drivers would welcome passengers with bas passes, because they don't have the additional work of issuing tickets and/or change.
Obviously there have been complaints about drivers pulling away while passengers are not yet seated. Shouldn't the onus is on the drivers to improve their observation skills and not the passengers? It is a sad state of affairs when someone who requires a few seconds longer to sit down needs to show the driver an 'official' card to request more time to find a seat. I can't see this working because, if presently drivers can't be bothered to look in their observation mirror prior to moving off, a Safe Travel Card is going to make no difference.
It's a tacky effort by National Express to pacify their complainants when they should be investing money in improving drivers' skills.