Jimmy talks about his sight loss and his experience of travel with Lothian
“We can all make the buses a better place to travel and sometimes it starts with a hello”
Edinburgh resident Jimmy is legally blind and has been using Lothian Buses all his life. With 2/60 vision, he’s able to see buses up close, the driver when he boards, and bus seats when he sits down but requires assistance to identify bus numbers and to know when it’s time to alight at his destination.
“My mobility is very good for someone my age,” he says. “I’m 66 now and I’ve been doing this since I was 14. Without being big-headed, my mobility is better than average!”
Jimmy has had numerous positive experiences travelling on Lothian services and a lifetime of good memories on our buses. “It’s naïve to assume the driver, doing a busy job, will remember to let you know when you’ve reached your destination” says Jimmy, “so I always make sure to turn around and ask the person next to me. Most of the time the passengers will let you know.
“It usually ends up in some form of banter between me and them!”
That’s the aspect Jimmy enjoys most about our buses. The warmth he feels from chatting to others about any and all topics.
“I’ve been quite lucky in a way. I’ve never really met anyone on a bus who had anything negative to say to me.”
He did have one encounter on a bus recently though that left him with food for thought.
“I met an elderly lady one Sunday on the bus,” he explains. “She told me she was going to a clock exhibition and I talked about an old clock I had that still works. As I was getting off, she told me that if I hadn’t spoken to her she would’ve gone through the day without speaking to anyone.”
Jimmy believes it is the nicest experience he’s had on a bus. He asserts that his good luck on our buses is down to his easy-going mentality and not ‘expecting’ preferential treatment because he’s blind.
He feels “rotten” when elderly women get up to give him, a blind man, a seat. However, he concedes that it’s often easier to take the seat than argue about it.
Jimmy has encountered some issues on the new double door buses, citing the tinted windows and seat colour as something that makes boarding the bus difficult for him. However, when he’s boarded the service and taken his seat, Jimmy’s experience of bus travel is overwhelmingly positive.
He also believes more awareness surrounding people with hidden disabilities using the buses would be a great help to everyone. However, he strongly believes that people themselves need to be more patient and accommodating to those who need a little help while travelling.
“We can all make the buses better places to travel, and sometimes it starts with a hello.”
Our thanks go to Jimmy for sharing his experiences with us.
Lothian remains committed to providing an efficient, world class bus service for the people of Edinburgh and the Lothians. Within that commitment, we reiterate that our buses are accessible for everyone. We would like to remind customers that not all disabilities are visible, and for a variety of reasons some of our customers cannot wear a face mask during their essential journey. Please be kind and considerate while on our buses.
If you’d like to find out more about sight loss, please visit RNIB Scotland’s website.