Centro signs up to autism awareness campaign

Scheme will help suffers access public transport.

Centro sign up to Autism Alliance, Birmingham New St Station

Centro sign up to Autism Alliance, Birmingham New St Station

Regional transport authority Centro is backing a national campaign aimed at improving access to facilities and services for people with autism.

The Autism Charter is a Government-funded scheme to promote better understanding of the condition, which affects around 700,000 people in the UK.

Under the charter Centro will receive a range of specialist consultancy and training from regional charity Autism West Midlands to improve the service it offers people with autism.

This will include:
• Staff training to enable customer facing employees to better understand and deal with customers with autis
• A review of Centro’s existing assistance cards which are used on buses
• A further review of Centro’s existing ‘Travel for Disabled People’ application form and accessibility communications policy.

Autism, and related conditions such as Asperger’s Syndrome, is a neurodevelopmental disorder which affects a person’s ability to communicate with and relate to others. Problems arising from these difficulties can lead to feelings of exclusion and isolation.

Cllr Judith Rowley, Centro lead member for Fair, Accessible and Sustainable Transport, said: “There are many people with autism who use public transport and therefore it is vitally important that Centro can identify how best it can help them. We want to ensure that our network offers the best service for as diverse a range of people as possible which is why we are supporting Autism West Midlands in raising awareness.”

Chief Executive of Autism West Midlands, Jonathan Shephard added: “We are delighted that Centro has agreed to become involved in the Connect to Autism campaign.

“People with autism often feel anxious in social situations, for example on public transport, yet their concerns and behaviour may be misunderstood or misinterpreted by staff or members of the public.

“Centro is responsible for 332 million passenger journeys a year in the West Midlands, so to have its buy-in and commitment is phenomenal and will result in real improvements to the experiences of people living with autism in our region.”