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A VISUALLY impaired Bowerhill resident is appealing for a bus stop on Spa Road to be moved, calling it a “possible death trap” for disabled passengers.
The bus stop on Spa Road opposite Giffords Surgery is located next to a layby, which is also a parking area. Local woman, Caroline Fielding, who relies on a white cane as a mobility aid and is registered as blind, has highlighted that when the layby is full of parked cars, the bus stop becomes a hazard for passengers.
Caroline has described her experience of using the bus stop on a regular basis as “harrowing” and is appealing for action to be taken before an “avoidable tragic accident occurs.”
“At least four times a week, I use the X72 bus service and often need to board at the stop opposite Melksham Hospital and Giffords Surgery,” explained Caroline. “This stop is also a car parking area and therefore a hazard to any passengers, but even more so to anyone with a disability.
“Visibility of oncoming traffic is reduced for passengers, due to the cars legally parked at this stop. Bus drivers have difficulty positioning the doors at a safe place for people to board, particularly disabled passengers.
“If cars are parked closely together, it is very difficult for a foot passenger to board or alight and impossible for a wheelchair or pushchair user to board or alight. Even when there is a gap between parked cars, the kerb is very high, therefore causing further, clear difficulties.
“When cars are parked at this stop, (and I have never known them not to be) it is very difficult for a bus driver to determine whether a person needs the bus or not. On two occasions buses have sailed right past me.
“I can only assume that they were unable to see through the parked cars, or that as I use a white cane, I was therefore unable to see them coming and indicate my need for their bus.
“On both those occasions I have had to walk a distance to the next stop, over unfamiliar roads to the 272 bus stop, due about 40 minutes later. This causes me a great deal of unnecessary anxiety.
“The stop is also hazardous because passengers sometimes feel the need to step from between the cars, very close to oncoming traffic, to alert the driver to their presence.
“Using public transport as a partially sighted person isn’t a choice for me, it is a necessity. It takes a lot of determination to get out there and face a world not particularly well-equipped for my needs, like poorly planned and dangerously positioned bus stops.
“The hazardous positioning of this bus stop could be easily remedied, by moving the stop further along the pavement to a spot just beyond the car parking area. This will enable all traffic, passengers and bus drivers clear sight of the bus stop and prevent a possible future tragedy.”