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South City News: Blind Dave's tunnel vision; ACOCKS GREEN: Help with Underground stations.

Byline: By Catherine Lillington

A BLIND Acocks Green man who regularly commutes to London has been chosen to try out new tactile maps for the Underground.

Dave Taylor, of Roberts Road, tested a map at Westminster Tube station where they were being launched.

Blind passengers will be able to receive free books of tactile maps, made up of raised lines, which are read by touch instead of sight, to help them find their way around Old Street, Westminster and Earl's Court underground stations.

Dave, 36, said: "It can be unsettling using the underground. When I'm unfamiliar with a station I normally ask for help from station staff to get around.

"That can be invaluable, but what I would really love is to be able to travel independently if I choose to and not have to rely on other people.

"These new tactile maps along with the detailed descriptions available on-line are great. After studying them, I have a really clear idea of how the stations are laid out and how to get from one part to another. It means I can negotiate these stations on my own.

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said: "The launch of large print station maps and Tube maps that can be read through touch by blind and partially-sighted people is another positive step towards making London a truly accessible and inclusive city.

"It is exactly this kind of initiative that will help blind and partially-sighted people to travel safely."

CAPTION(S):

RIGHT DIRECTION... Dave Taylor with the tactile Tube map.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 18, 2006
Words:255
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