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Utah Firm Offers Braille Bus Schedule

Associated Press

The Utah Transit Authority last week began offering computer-processed bus schedules in Braille for blind riders.

Albert Engelken, spokesman for the American Public Transit Assn. in Washington, said that as far as he knows the UTA is the first transit firm in the country to do so.

“It certainly is a big step forward and an innovative way to provide service for all the people in Utah,” he said.

The UTA serves the Salt Lake, Ogden and Provo areas.

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UTA customer service representative Bob Yeates, who is blind, and his wife formerly translated schedules into Braille so he could read them himself and relay the information to customers.

The authority recently purchased a $17,000 printer that can be used with the company’s computer equipment to produce schedules in Braille, along with the regular schedules for sighted customers.

Butch Jentzsch, data processing manager for UTA, said the authority has been getting “about a couple dozen requests a week” for Braille schedules. “But we are now sending customer service representatives to various blind centers to tell them about the service and explain how to use the new schedules, so we expect to get many more requests after that.”

Yeates said he and his wife often used a week of their vacation time to translate the schedules into Braille. Now the computer kicks the schedules out in seconds.

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