Talking Vision is Vision Australia Radio’s flagship program, discussing the latest news and issues from a blindness and low vision perspective.
This week Sam is joined by Santiago Velasquez, founder of Hailo, an app for bus users who are blind or have low vision to get around on the network more safely and reliably.
Set to roll out in the next few weeks, Hailo informs the driver where a passenger is looking to be picked up, where they want to get off, as well as what access requirements they might have, such as if they use a white cane, Seeing Eye Dog or if they need a low floor bus.
Santiago was motivated to create the app after experiencing difficulties accessing the bus network as a passenger with very low vision and wasn’t confident in the current offerings from other organisations who did not involve developers with lived experience.
“I was just frustrated. I was frustrated that public transport was failing myself and failing many more people. We can’t drive, so public transport should work, right? Public transport needs to work, no matter what mode of transport you need to get around,” Santiago said.
“If somebody with a disability is leading the app from the top we can make sure we don’t have to go around and around trying to make a basic accessible app, I just didn’t want another product from a massive company that didn’t work because lived experience was an afterthought,” he said.
Listen to the full interview via Omny or in the player below: