Spoken bus timetable will be useful in any language

Mary Walton

Mary Walton

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter. Please call me on (01865) 425411

NAVIGATING travel timetables can often be tricky even for those with 20/20 vision.

But new technology introduced by Oxford Bus Company will convert that information into spoken messages to be read out on its website.

The upgraded oxfordbus.co.uk site will also translate the text into 54 languages including Danish and Latin.

It’s now possible to change the size of text and background colours to help people access information more easily.

Phil Southall, the operations director of Oxford Bus Company said: “More and more people are relying on our website for information on services and we are determined to make it as easy as possible for everyone to log on to www.oxfordbus.co.uk.”

“All that’s needed is to click on the speak me logo and follow the instructions.

“It’s a bit daunting in some respects, as Oxford probably has more language experts per square mile than any other city for miles around.

“We hope true linguists will be understanding and accept that it’s a computer translation.”

Giles Ingram, the chief executive of Experience Oxfordshire, welcomed the initiative.

He said: “Oxfordshire attracts visitors from across the globe and is one of England’s must see destinations. This innovation by the Oxford Bus Company is excellent news, and will make travelling around the county so much easier for our many, many overseas visitors. Tres Bien!”

Partially sighted Mary Walton, 97, of Grandpont, Oxford, said: “As you can imagine I’m not so great with computers myself but I could have someone with me and hear the instructions and times read out, and I imagine it is very helpful for those who don’t have anyone.”

Colin Cure, director of Oxfordshire Association for the Blind added: “If people have difficulty accessing any kind of information on websites we are becoming experts at helping them use the new technology available, and would urge them to get in touch with us.”

The bus company is spreading the word about the new service with a number of its contacts in the city and so it hopes more people will soon be aware that it exists.

The Oxford Bus Company website address is oxfordbus.co.uk.

s To contact Oxfordshire Association for the Blind people should visit oxeyes.org.uk or call 01865 725595.

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