GO GEORGE striving to accommodate passengers with special needs

The month of November is dedicated to creating awareness of disability rights. The GO GEORGE bus service annually joins Government’s national campaign to increase awareness through a special programme of activities in the community and the media.

According to James Robb, GO GEORGE Manager, the bus service’s constant focus on disability and ways to enhance the travel experience of passengers with special needs is in actual fact much more than a month-long campaign once a year.

“Disability awareness and accommodation is something that we keep in the forefront of our minds all day. To think that we get it right every day, every time, is wishful thinking though, but we make every effort to consider and accommodate passengers with disabilities and other special needs as far as possible. Of course there are times when we don’t get this right, and that’s why we value feedback from and engagement with our passengers,” Robb said.

“There were times when our drivers failed to pick up a blind passenger at a bus stop, or when our ramps did not deploy. Out of this, we’ve learned some valuable lessons, things like changing the way our drivers identify passengers they need to pick up at a stop. The standard approach is that the passenger flags down the appropriate bus when they see it approaching – the blind person cannot do that, so we are relooking at our training, customer care, internal operational procedures, signage and policies.

“We want to accommodate all forms of disability and create a user-friendly service. This is our mission, but we cannot accomplish it without the input and support of our passengers with special needs. We need feedback about their journey so that we can improve our service and do things better next time.”

GO GEORGE is in the process of establishing a focus group consisting of passengers with special needs and people working in the disability sector, to advise, consult and give continuous feedback on matters pertaining to the user-friendliness and universal accessibility of the bus service.

Robb is inviting passengers with disabilities to let them know how they go about town, to share personal experiences of using the bus, or to make suggestions to improve the service. Send an email to info@gogeorge.org.za or leave a message at the GO GEORGE Call Centre by phoning 0800 044 044, to have your call returned.

CAPTION: One of the accessibility elements of the GO GEORGE bus service is the hydraulic hoist on the minibus that enables access to people in wheelchairs or who experience other mobility challenges.


GO GEORGE streef daarna  om passasiers met spesiale behoeftes te akkommodeer

Die maand November word daaraan gewy om bewustheid te skep van die regte van persone met gestremdhede. Die GO GEORGE-busdiens sluit jaarliks aan by die regering se nasionale veldtog om bewustheid te verhoog deur ‘n spesiale program van aktiwiteite in die gemeenskap en die media.

Volgens James Robb, GO GEORGE-bestuurder, is die busdiens se konstante fokus op gestremdheid en maniere om die reiservaring van passasiers met  spesiale behoeftes te verbeter, in werklikheid baie meer as ‘n maandlange veldtog een keer per jaar.

“Bewustheid van gestremdheid en die akkommodering daarvan is voorop in ons gedagtes, die hele dag. Om te dink ons kry dit elke dag en elke keer reg, is wensdenkery, maar ons doen ons bes om passasiers met gestremdhede en ander spesiale behoeftes so ver as moontlik in ag te neem en te akkommodeer. Natuurlik is daar tye wanneer ons dit nie regkry nie, en daarom waardeer ons terugvoer en betrokkenheid van ons passasiers,” sê Robb.

“Daar was al kere wanneer ons bestuurders versuim het om ‘n blinde passasier by ‘n bushalte op te tel, of wanneer ons skuins loopvlakke nie ontplooi het nie. Uit hierdie voorvalle het ons ‘n paar waardevolle lesse geleer, dinge soos die verandering van die manier waarop ons bestuurders passasiers vir wie hulle moet stop en oplaai, identifiseer. Die standaard praktyk is dat die passasier moet hand opsteek vir die toepaslike bus wanneer hulle dit sien nader kom – die blinde persoon kan dit nie doen nie, so ons kyk weer na ons opleiding, klantesorg, interne operasionele prosedures, naamborde en beleide.

“Ons  wil alle vorms van gestremdheid akkommodeer en ‘n gebruikersvriendelike diens skep. Dit is ons missie, maar ons kan dit nie bereik sonder die insette en ondersteuning van ons passasiers met spesiale behoeftes nie. Ons benodig terugvoer  oor hul reiservaring sodat ons ons diens kan verbeter en dinge volgende keer beter kan doen.

GO GEORGE is besig met ‘n proses om ‘n fokusgroep te vestig wat sal bestaan uit passasiers met spesiale behoeftes en mense wat in die gestremdheidsektor werk, om te adviseer, konsulteer en deurlopende terugvoer te gee oor sake wat verband hou met die gebruikersvriendelikheid en universele toeganklikheid van die busdiens.

Robb nooi passasiers met gestremdhede om te laat weet hoe hulle deur die dorp beweeg, om hul persoonlike ervaring met die gebruik van die busdiens te deel, of om voorstelle vir die verbetering van die diens te maak. Stuur ‘n e-pos aan info@gogeorge.org.za of laat ‘n boodskap by die GO GEORGE-inbelsentrum (0800 044 044) sodat jy teruggebel kan word.

ONDERSKRIF: Een van die toeganklikheidselemente van die GO GEORGE-busdiens is die minibus se hidrouliese hyser wat toegang verleen aan passasiers in rolstoele of met ander uitdagings ten opsigte van beweeglikheid.

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