The UK Department for Transport (DfT) is introducing new laws designed to boost accessibility for disabled passengers across the country.
The rules will require almost every local bus or coach service to provide audible announcements and visual displays identifying the route and direction, each upcoming stop, and the beginning of any diversions.
Some £4.65m in government funding is being made available to industry to upgrade their vehicles, and the changes will be implemented gradually, with almost all vehicles required to comply by October 2026.
According to the DfT, at present, there is patchy provision across the country, with only 30% of buses outside London providing this information, which it said can be a major barrier for disabled people wanting to travel by bus or coach.
Audible and visible information could also benefit non-disabled people, helping those who are travelling on an unfamiliar bus route, said UK roads and accessibility minister Richard Holden.
“Everyone deserves to take the bus with confidence, and this is a massive boost for passenger independence, said Holden.
“Simple and effective audible and visible information should be a baked-in feature of a modern bus service to help people reach their destination, wherever they travel in Great Britain.
To ensure the information provides real-life benefits, the DfT has worked with disabled passengers, user groups and the bus and coach sector, whilst allowing operators to choose solutions suitable for their services.
Aids will include ensuring audio is available through induction loop systems, and all new vehicles introduced after October 2024 must also include visible information that can be seen by a wheelchair user when travelling in a rearward facing wheelchair space.