In our third app update of 2018 we made some changes to the way we handle displaying information within the standard Passenger app Explore view for users who have VoiceOver turned on. Instead of showing an interactive map, we’ve switched to a text-based view that iOS can read out more clearly. It’s a small change of approach, that’s already had a big impact for some visually impaired users, who have fed back to the operators full of appreciation.

While it can be difficult for operators to make the business case to make big investments in areas that support accessible passengers, it’s important to remember that lots of small steps can make a big difference to those who need extra support. As a digital team representing lots of operators in the UK it’s our job to keep accessibility high on the agenda in the software development cycle.

Receiving feedback from those whose lives are improved by the changes is great for a team’s morale.

“Top job! It’s very helpful and a great new feature. I’d already noticed my favourites and nearby stops on the front screen but didn’t realise that was specific to voiceover. I was going to suggest the option of having favourites on the front screen but you’ve saved me a job! Please pass on my thanks to the developers.”

Mel, partially sighted app user

There are all sorts of scenarios that make able-bodied people less able too. Think about a mother carrying a child, or a dad with bags of shopping. Both these individuals are temporarily less able to carry out tasks they might be able to complete when not in these scenarios.

The step by step improvements are moving us towards a solution that works well for everyone, regardless of the challenges they face. By continually making it easier for everyone to access the bus network, we hope to bring all types of users on the journey with us.