First Cymru Help Young Toby Get on Board the Bus10 May 2016
Sitting at the wheel of a bus is a childhood dream for many of us.
And it proved a special experience for nine-year-old Toby Williams, of Haverfordwest, when he was given his very own 37-seater to explore.
Toby lost his sight two years ago due to illness, and is working to regain his independence with the help of the charity Blind Children UK (Cymru).
The charity approached First Cymru, which has a depot in Haverfordwest, and was delighted when Toby was invited along to explore a stationary bus with trainee habilitation specialist Michelle Green.
“Our goal is to improve Toby’s mobility, independence and confidence and successfully accessing public transport will help him to achieve this.” said Michelle. “By exploring a stationary bus with his long cane, Toby can learn how to pay the driver, find a seat and press the button to ask the driver to stop.
“This opportunity will really help Toby understand the layout and features of a public bus and this will make a big difference to his confidence when he is using buses during his mobility training and in the future.”
Toby’s first challenge was a steep step onto the bus, which he gauged using his cane.
Once on board, he was shown how to pay his fare or show his ticket, and was even allowed behind the glass to sit in the driver’s seat.
He counted the number of seats, learnt how to locate the priority seating and enjoyed exploring all the way to the back of the bus.
Excitement mounted when the engine was switched on so that Toby could hear the noise and feel the vibration of the bus.
“This was really helpful, because Toby will be able to find his way around confidently when we get on a bus next time,” said Michelle. “The next step is to practise on a bus for real, using his cane.”
Justin Davies, Managing Director of First Cymru said: “We were more than happy for Toby to familiarise himself with a bus at our Haverfordwest depot.”
He continued: “We understand that for many our bus services are a lifeline and we are committed to making their journeys as easy and safe as possible. In Toby’s case a lesson that lasted no more than 2 hours will benefit his life for many years to come.”