Ticket to ride for service user Leeanne as VisionPK makes the right connection with Stagecoach


Perth based charity VisionPK, which aims to support the empowerment of people with hearing or sight loss to take a full and fulfilling role in society, has teamed up with transport operator Stagecoach to help service users have the confidence to access and use local buses.

Debi Wallace, Leeanne Balch, Angus Dakers and Thea Samuel at the Perth depot 

As of 2023, seven operators provide bus and coach services across Perth and Kinross, the largest being Stagecoach East Scotland. As the charity covers the same county footprint, it seemed a natural opportunity to get together and embark on a journey of collaboration.

Debi Wallace and Thea Samuel, Vision Rehabilitation Specialists with VisionPK, teamed up with Service User Leeanne Balch and met Angus Dakers, from Stagecoach at the firm’s depot in Perth.

With full access to a dedicated bus made available for the session, Angus manoeuvred the bus to and from the kerbside numerous times, put the engine on and off, drove it around the block to see if Leeanne could hear the bus, explained the best way to hold the bus pass so the machine picks it up and even found the type of bus that Leeanne would usually be getting on to from where she lives into town.

Leeanne, from Abernethy, who has been deaf from birth and registered blind for over 20 years said: “This experience was really useful, giving me a good image of where the driver and passenger seats are, the closeness of the engine noise and working the ticket machine gives me more confidence when travelling. I found the orientation training to be incredibly helpful and am grateful to the bus company.”

Thea added: “We would like to say a huge thank you to Stagecoach for taking the time to collaborate with us and help people who are facing challenges using public transport. This orientation training has given confidence to service users to overcome challenges when using the local public transport network. We hope we can continue working together and are incredibly grateful for their support.” 

Jamie Reid, Area Manager, Stagecoach East Scotland said: “It was a privilege to work with the team at VisionPK and with the individual users so we were delighted to welcome them to the depot to help support their travel needs and confidence.  We are committed to working with the communities we serve and aim to offer support wherever we can for people using our bus services.”

Kate Charles, Chief Executive of VisionPK, said: “We are here to help those with hearing and sight loss to be as independent as possible, by teaming up with key service providers such as Stagecoach we can continue to help make a difference to our service user’s lives across Perth and Kinross.”

To support VisionPK please visit https://visionpk.org.uk/support-us/