New card helps vulnerable people use public transport
A NEW assistance card to help people in the Highlands and Islands with disabilities get around easier was launched on Skye last week.
HITRANS Thistle Assistance Card is designed to help those who have difficulty using public transport because of their age, disability or illness.
HITRANS, the regional transport partnership for the Highlands and Islands, has introduced the card to allow passengers to inform drivers about any special requirements they have before they travel.
Cardholders select from a list of stickers the disabilities they have, such as sight or mobiltiy, and attach these to the front of the card.
The holder can also indicate one of the following messages; please wait for me to sit down, please talk slowly and clearly, let me know when we arrive at...
On the back of the card there is room for any other information which may be useful for the driver to know.
The scheme was launched in Kyleakin, Skye, by Councillor Audrey Sinclair, councillor for Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh and a member of the HITRANS Board.
She said: ‘People with disabilities often need a little more time to get on and off public transport.
‘The aim of the HITRANS Thistle Assistance Card is to help anyone who has a difficulty in using public transport because of their age, disability or illness.
‘It will quickly and easily tell the operator about any extra help they may need.’
Charlene Macleod, who runs Kyleakin Connections, a charity based in the Old School in Kyleakin, said: ‘One of our day care users had raised the need for something like this last year so I can see how it will encourage anyone with a disability or concerned about travelling independently to gain the freedom that using public transport can bring.’
Iain Beaton, area manager for Stagecoach North Highland, welcomed the new card and commented: ‘While many of our drivers know regular local passengers very well and provide the help they require, this card will make journeys easier for those in most need.’
Charlene Macleod, manager of Kyleakin Connections, HITRANS board member Councillor Audrey Sinclair, Stagecoach Area Manager Iain Beaton and members of the Day Care centre at Kyleakin at the launch of the HITRANS Thistle Assistance Card for Public Transport.