Dame Anne Begg MP joined local Guide Dog users and activists Mary Rasmussen and Linda Slessor as well as Guide Dogs Community Engagement Officer Pamela Munro to take part in a blindfolded bus journey.
Dame Anne joined them on a bus journey in order to understand some of the issues people with sight loss face when travelling on buses. Recent Guide Dog’s survey, Road to Nowhere, revealed that 81% of people with visual impairment in the UK say they are unable to enjoy the freedom that others take for granted because they find travelling by bus so difficult. Examples of comments which were submitted by visually impaired people in Aberdeen are:
“I was left in the bus station in Aberdeen for almost 2 hours because no one would tell me when my bus was there, it took a member of the public to stay with me and took me to my bus when it came in.”
“I have many tales to tell including one of blatant discrimination on what was then the 307 operated by Stagecoach Bluebird in Aberdeen.”
Volunteer John Johnston and Evening Express journalist Adele Merson were blindfolded on the bus journey to experience the disorientation that people with visual impairment can feel when travelling by bus.
Dame Anne has been supportive of Guide Dog’s campaign for Audio Visual Announcements in the chamber of the House of Commons and she will continue to press the Governments in Westminster and Holyrood to encourage bus companies to introduce this technology.
Aberdeen South MP, Dame Anne Begg, warned constituents about the dangers of travelling uninsured. In support of a campaign by ABTA – The Travel Association and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Dame Anne is urging holidaymakers in Aberdeen South to “pack your policy” ahead of the great summer getaway.
According to new research by ABTA – the Travel Association, many UK holidaymakers are unaware of the costs of medical treatment abroad and may be putting themselves at risk of sky high medical bills if something goes wrong. Nearly a third (29%) of people in Aberdeen South now travel abroad without insurance, despite the need for medical assistance being relatively common. According to ABTA research, 16% of people from Aberdeen South have visited a doctor or hospital while abroad.
Most at risk are younger travellers as almost half (48%) will have a holiday abroad without taking out travel insurance. Recently released FCO research has found that 4 out of 5 (82%) young people admit to taking part in more adventurous behaviour on holiday – yet fewer than half (45%) check that their insurance covers risky pursuits.
Dame Anne said: “We all look forward to our well-deserved summer holiday. However, it is very important that we make sure that when we do travel overseas, we are covered if something goes wrong. Many countries do not have national schemes to cover the cost of healthcare and treatment abroad can therefore be very costly. It is just not worth taking the risk. That is why I am very happy to support this campaign. I urge all of my constituents to make sure you “pack your policy” this summer.”
ABTA has launched a new advice section on travel insurance for consumers. Visit www.abta.com/travelinsurance for full details.