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A VISUALLY impaired Bowerhill resident is celebrating after her campaign to move a “death trap” bus stop on Spa Road has resulted in it being relocated to a safer location.
The original bus stop on Spa Road was opposite Giffords Surgery located next to a layby, which also acts as a parking area. Local woman, Caroline Fielding, who relies on a white cane as a mobility aid and is registered as blind, highlighted in the last issue of the Melksham News that when the layby is full of parked cars, the bus stop became a hazard for passengers. She described her own experience of using the bus stop as “harrowing”. Caroline also raised the issue that when the layby is full, bus drivers can’t see her waiting at the stop and often drive past her.
In response to Caroline’s concerns, Wiltshire Council has relocated the bus stop to outside the SSE building. The Melksham News met Caroline at the new location to hear her thoughts. “This is perfect!” said Caroline. “The bus driver will have really good clear visibility of me and on the days where I can’t see at all and can’t hear the bus coming over the wind, they will be able to see me and stop. It’s fabulous!”
“Bus drivers are told that if they see someone with a white cane at a bus stop they should stop no matter what, and they announce the name of the bus and where it is going. So this really is fantastic.
“They (Wiltshire Council) actioned it so quickly, it’s amazing.”
However, Caroline says there is still room for improvement. “There is nothing here to indicate to visually impaired people that this is a bus stop. It would be nice to have something, even tactile markings on the pavement near the bus stop, to indicate that there is a bus stop or maybe something on the lamppost to tell me what it is.”
A Wiltshire Council spokesperson said, “We received a request to look at the location of the bus stop on Spa Road. After a site assessment it was decided to move it just outside the SSE building, away from a busy junction. The new location provides better visibility for both bus passengers and bus drivers. We’ve informed all local bus companies of the change.”