04/21/2014 02:47 EDT | Updated 06/21/2014 05:59 EDT

Bus drivers no longer required to call out stops with hand-held microphone

VICTORIA - Bus drivers in Greater Victoria will no longer be required call out stops using a hand-held microphone — now that their employer has agreed to consider an automated announcement system.

Unifor Local 33 president Ben Williams says ordering drivers to hold a microphone and announce stops amounts to distracted driving in an already challenging job.

Williams says a public address system would allow drivers to focus on getting their passengers to their destinations and that BC Transit has assured the union it will look into such an option.

He says Transit will provide training to drivers to work towards calling out all stops but that the union believes an automatic system is the only safe way to provide that information to riders.

Bus drivers in Metro Vancouver and other jurisdictions already use an automated announcement system.

The issue arose after a Human Rights Tribunal complaint by a visually impaired passenger and the Canadian Federation for the Blind that failure to call out all stops is discriminatory.