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London buses boost training for Guide Dogs

Barry Cahill, guide dog trainer, with 18-month-old guide dog in training Ivy and the bus driver.

Transport for London has linked up with The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association to allow volunteers to use its buses for free, helping to boost the training and development of future guide dogs.

Under the partnership, guide dog staff, boarders and puppy walkers will be able to travel free across the London bus network while training with their charges.

Puppy walkers and staff training guide dogs will be able to make use of this new initiative.
Young guide dog pups spend most of their first year with a puppy walker volunteer, who teaches basic obedience and gets them used to a home environment and the noise and bustle of the city.

This new initiative will play a big part in helping future guide dogs get used to public transport and busy environments at an early age.

Peter Hendy, Managing Director for Surface Transport, said: "We are delighted to work in partnership with Guide Dogs on this new initiative.


"More than six million passengers travel on our buses across London every day and we know first hand that they are all unique with their own specific needs. We want to make our buses as accessible as possible and we hope this initiative will help support our blind and partially-sighted customers." Guide Dogs' trainers will need to ensure they have their photo pass and dog with them in order to travel for free.

Ali Firbank, spokesperson for Guide Dogs, said: "It is fantastic that TfL is supporting us. This will make such a difference and will really help our puppies and training dogs get used to travelling on buses plus saving the fare for the volunteer or member of staff during the training of the guide dog."

Guide dogs have an important role in providing independence and mobility to blind and partially-sighted people in London. The timing of this initiative coincides with Guide Dogs' first puppy walking scheme in Central London.