I fully agree that all disabled people should have the same access to transport services and opportunities to travel as other members of society, and I appreciate your concerns about this issue.
Audio-visual systems on buses are not currently mandatory and, for this reason, levels of provision may vary. The Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR) do, however, require all new buses and coaches on local or scheduled services and designed to carry more than 22 passengers to be accessible to disabled passengers.
All full-size public service buses will have to comply with PSVAR by January 2017, depending on vehicle type. As a result, local buses are steadily becoming more accessible, and the most recent figures show that 89 per cent of the bus fleet in England met the PSVAR requirements compared to just 59 per cent in 2009/10.
I know that Ministers have encouraged bus operators and local authorities to invest in audio/visual announcement systems for their buses where possible. However, I do understand that this technology can come at some cost and so Ministers have supported projects to design innovative and low-cost approaches to providing accessible on-board information. There are a number of different potential solutions for achieving better audio visual information, not all of which necessarily require on-bus equipment.
Making on-board systems a requirement on all new buses would be a significant cost to the industry and so I understand that Ministers have no current plans to mandate such systems through Regulation. I appreciate this is not the answer.