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Bradford Disability Groups praise bus app for helping to plan journeys

Disability groups in Bradford have praised the region’s bus operator First Bus for fast-tracking technology which will enable customers to view available wheelchair spaces on their local bus services in ‘real-time’.

The campaigners were reacting to the launch of the mobile app, live this week, and an innovation that makes bus travel easier by tracking wheelchair capacity through an icon that moves across a virtual map.

Emmerson Walgrove, Chair of the Bradford and District Disabled People's Forum (BDPF), said: “This is great news for wheelchair users across the region. By providing this information in an inclusive and accessible way, users can make informed decisions about their bus journeys.“

The Chair of Bradford’s Mobility Planning Group, Shaun Morris-Armitage, added: “This is an excellent improvement, allowing disabled people to travel with confidence knowing that in ‘real time’ where their bus is and that there will be an appropriate and safe place on the bus to locate their wheelchair”.

The update forms part of a fast-tracked investment in the app which has seen First become the first UK bus operator to not only allow bus passengers to live track the location of their next bus, but also show its capacity in ‘real time’.

Paul Matthews, Managing Director of First West Yorkshire, said “We are really proud to have been able to fast-track our recent app updates to ensure safe, informed travel during these difficult times.

“Our buses provide an essential service for our customers and we are doing all we can to support them. The app update is aligned with our long-standing pledge to improve the bus experience for our disabled passengers.”

For further information, please contact Richard Harrison, First Bus North PR on 07973 668116 or email richard.m.harrison@firstgroup.com

NOTES TO EDITORS

To find out more about what First Bus is doing to support customers during Covid-19, visit https://www.firstgroup.com/help-and-support/coronavirus-information

If customers are exempt from Government face covering guidelines, First Bus have journey assistance cards available to download from https://www.firstgroup.com/help-and-support/extra-help-travel.

First Bus App

The app update is available now in Apple and Android app stores. Dependent on individual phone user settings, the app may automatically update or require the phone user to manually select to update to the latest version 4.8.

The app update is available to all First Bus app users in the UK and any customers downloading the app for the first time will automatically have the wheelchair space availability functionality.

The live capacity functionality has been made possible by First Bus’s new passenger counting functionality, announced at the end of May following a close working partnership with ticketing system, Ticketer. Data from this system feeds directly to the First Bus app in real time.

First West Yorkshire

First West Yorkshire is following Government advice; implementing enhanced cleaning regimes across our vehicles, encouraging good hand hygiene with our employees and displaying public information posters on our buses.
Stepping up our cleaning regimes includes regular disinfection of all grab rails and poles, entrance door handles, window ledges and other touchpoints.

First West Yorkshire is the largest bus operator in the region. More than 880 buses transport around 350,000 people every day, across West Yorkshire. The company operates from depots in; Hunslet, Bramley, Bradford, Halifax, Todmorden and Huddersfield, and employs more than 2,000 staff.

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