Talking signposts on Metro help visually impaired.

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11 March 2009

Nexus has installed talking signposts to assist the visually impaired at two of its busiest stations.

Twenty ‘React’ speaker units have been fitted all over Monument and Haymarket Metro stations in a joint project with Newcastle City Council, RNIB and Newcastle Disability Forum.

Between them the two stations are used by more than 16 million passengers every year.

Further units have been fitted by Newcastle City Council at 17 city centre locations, with three more at entrances to the Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Together the units make up chosen routes through Newcastle city centre.

People carrying a small fob device trigger the units to announce a simple audible message when within range. This message helps the user to confirm their location and orientate themselves with their surroundings.

Nexus Director General Bernard Garner said: “We seek to provide the best information to all public transport users.

“That means talking announcements for visually impaired people just as much as good timetables and online information.”

Members of Newcastle Disability Forum (NDF) have been involved from the start of the project, volunteering their time to support its development and testing the system over six months.

The fob devices can be borrowed by visitors for the day from the Nexus Travelshop at Central Station, Central Arcade Tourist Information Centre, Newcastle Shopmobility and Newcastle Civic Centre Customer Service Centre. A deposit is required.

Fobs are also available on long term loan from organisations such as Guide Dogs for the Blind, Newcastle Sensory Support Service, and Newcastle Society for Blind People.

RNIB React installations have already been installed in a number of cities and towns including parts Birmingham, Liverpool, Portsmouth and two London suburbs.

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