The local public transport service operator in the Greek city of Thessaloniki, OASTH, has introduced a new system of audio announcements at selected bus stops to assist individuals with visual impairments. According to OASTH's recent announcement, there are now 35 stops equipped with this feature. By simply pressing a button at the bus stop, people can receive audio information about the arrival times of the bus lines passing through that particular location. This expansion of the audio announcement system was carried out in collaboration with the Panhellenic Association of the Blind - Regional Union of Central Macedonia and the Panhellenic Association of Paraplegics - Macedonia - Thrace Branch.
Previously, the system was operational at a small number of stops. As part of the modernisation efforts, the system is now activated by the user by pressing a button, eliminating the need for users to carry a separate activation device that could be forgotten or have battery issues. OASTH emphasises that this improvement aims to provide convenience to visually impaired individuals when they arrive at the bus stop.
To ensure that the audio announcements are audible amidst the ambient noise, the volume has been checked and adjusted accordingly. OASTH implemented this feature in compliance with the National Action Plan for the rights of Persons with Disabilities, demonstrating their commitment to supporting individuals with disabilities. Costas Tangiris, the president and managing director of OASTH, underlines the organisation's ongoing dedication to improving the daily lives of people with disabilities through actions and services.
The expansion and installation of the audio announcement system have fulfilled a longstanding request from the visually impaired community and are highly beneficial. However, Katerina Lorentzou, the general secretary of the Panhellenic Association of the Blind - Regional Union of Central Macedonia, suggests that the system should be extended to other locations served by OASTH. She points out that individuals with visual impairments often travel from one city to another, and any initiatives should aim to benefit everyone, regardless of their location.
- Publication date
- 17 July 2023
- Transport for people with reduced mobility