Editorial: Automated Transit announcement system just makes sense

Plans to install an automated annunciation device on every bus likely came as a welcome relief to many

BC Transit’s announcement that it plans to install an automated voice annunciation device on every bus in the Victoria Regional Transit System likely came as a welcome relief to many who were finding it a challenge to move around the city with confidence.

Residents with vision challenges had been calling for some time for a system that alerts them to the approaching bus stops. In its initial response, Transit tried to insist its drivers begin calling out stops as they drove. For their part, the drivers protested, citing the need to focus fully on their most important task: driving.

Installation of the Trekker Breeze system will occur in stages, with 25 buses equipped in August to conduct final road tests. The rest of the fleet will be outfitted beginning in September.

A joint Unifor 333 / BC Transit committee had been formed to investigate technological solutions. According to the committee, the Trekker Breeze  provides a cost-effective, readily available and proven voice annunciation product that is used by visually impaired persons around the world.

“This product supports the needs of our visually impaired customers and our operators while also respecting taxpayers,” said Manuel Achadinha, President and CEO of BC Transit. “I thank the Canadian Federation of the Blind and Unifor 333 for working with us to find a cost-effective product.”

Of course, those with vision challenges aren’t the only ones who will benefit from the system. Tourists, newcomers to the city and even longtime residents who venture to an unfamiliar part of our growing city will all find the automated system useful.

And certainly as the community also battles the very serious issue of distracted driving, asking drivers who already negotiate roads shared with other drivers, cyclists, skateboarders, pedestrians and others – all while monitoring what’s happening behind them on their bus – to add another task seems incongruous.

The question, really, is why did it take so long to arrive at this position? Travellers to many other parts of the world are familiar with automated systems announcing coming transit stops.

 

It seems like this decision, which makes the most sense for everyone, should have been the one arrived at in the beginning.

 

 

Just Posted

‘Two ducks, five bucks’ for annual rubber duckie race in Bowker Creek

Oak Bay High Environment Club host event Saturday in celebration of vital Oak Bay creek

Esquimalt council green-lights first mass-timber building on Vancouver Island

Mayor appreciates 12-storey structure’s proximity to naval base, graving dock and Seaspan

Victoria beaches 1,560 pounds lighter after Surfrider cleanup

200 people came out to clean the beach on Earth Day

Sooke makes call for regional fire dispatch

Some municipalities decide to take service off-Island

Greater Victoria School District adopts new dress code policy

Two years in the making, SD61 moves to more inclusionary guidelines

Parents call for change to health laws after Oak Bay teen’s death

Accidental overdose has Elliot Eurchuk’s parents seeking change to B.C Infants Act

B.C.’s living wage increase curbed due to MSP cuts, child care subsidy: report

Living wage varies between $16.51 in north central B.C. to $20.91 in Metro Vancouver

Amalgamation Yes hosting citizen’s assembly info meeting Wednesday at Vic High

Mayors of Victoria and Saanich will be on hand to give updates to residents

Doctor sees healing power in psychedelic plant as Peru investigates death of B.C. man

Peru’s attorney general has ordered the arrest of two suspects in the killing of 41-year-old Sebastian Woodroffe

Toronto police officer ‘gave himself the space and time’ in van attack

Footage shows officer standing up, turning off his siren and talking clearly to the suspect

$1.18 to $1.58 a litre: Are you paying the most for gas in B.C.?

Gas prices across B.C. vary, with lowest in Vernon and highest in – you guessed it – Metro Vancouver

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of April 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Inquest set 10 years after B.C. woman shot, left to die

Lisa Dudley, and her partner, Guthrie McKay were shot in their Mission home in September 2008

B.C. hockey team to retire Humboldt Bronco victim’s number

BCHL’s Surrey Eagles to retire Jaxon Joseph’s No. 10 in light of bus tragedy

Most Read