Long overdue: 2026 deadline for bus announcements


The Department for Transport has ‘finally’ announced the introduction of rules that will mandate audible announcements and visual displays on buses, with ‘almost all’ vehicles required to comply by October 2026.

The measure was set out in the DfT’s 2018 Inclusive Transport Strategy and the department consulted on draft regulations that year. In its first update on the strategy in 2019, the DfT said: ‘We continue to analyse responses to the consultation and expect to announce our next steps regarding the making of Regulations and publication of guidance later in the year.’

It has now published the outcome of the consultation and said new rules will require almost every local bus or coach service to provide audible announcements and visual displays identifying the route and direction, each upcoming stop, and the beginning of any diversions.

The DfT acknowledged that at present there is patchy provision across the country, with only 30% of buses outside London providing this information, ‘which can be a major barrier for disabled people wanting to travel by bus or coach’.

However, it said the changes ‘will be implemented gradually, with almost all vehicles required to comply by October 2026’. The smallest bus and coach companies will be given a share of £4.65m to upgrade their vehicles.

Transport minister Richard Holden described the move as ‘a massive boost for passenger independence’.

He said: ‘Simple and effective audible and visible information should be a baked-in feature of a modern bus service to help people reach their destination, wherever they travel in Great Britain.’

Campaign Group Transport for All described the move as ‘long overdue’.

Guide Dogs chief executive Tom Wright CBE said: ‘For many people with sight loss, bus travel can prove difficult or near impossible.

‘At Guide Dogs, we are delighted that the Government has taken this significant step in making bus travel more accessible to people with a visual impairment. Our research shows that over half of people with sight loss have missed their stop due to a lack of AV, and many people avoid bus travel altogether because buses remain inaccessible.’

The DfT said that to ensure the information provides real-life benefits it had worked closely with disabled passengers, user groups and the bus and coach sector, whilst giving operators the flexibility to choose solutions suitable for their services.

AV aids will include ensuring audio is available through induction loop systems, and all new vehicles introduced after October 2024 must also include visible information which can be seen by a wheelchair user when travelling in a rearward facing wheelchair space.

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