As a travel trainer with Center for Mobility Equity, I’m often tasked with answering questions about the process, and how necessary such services are for our communities.
“Do people really need travel training?”
“Who doesn’t know how to ride a bus?”
“It can’t be that hard to learn… why does it take so long to teach one person?”
In all honesty, I completely understand where they are coming from. Before working in this field, I felt the same way. But once I got to asking those same people if they had ever taken a bus before, or anything that goes with it (how to locate a bus, how to read a schedule, or how to know where to wait to catch a bus to get to a given location,) I received a lot of blank stares as a response.
Using public transit is, unfortunately, not always as easy as it seems. This is especially the case if transit was not something you were exposed to while growing up. There are plenty of adults who have never stepped foot on to public transit and have no idea where to start, and for that reason, travel trainers are a great asset. In the case of Center for Mobility Equity, our primary focus is on individuals with disabilities, or older citizens who want to get around their community without having to drive - and without having to pay an arm and a leg to have someone do it for them. We also focus on teenage students who are transitioning out of high school and into the adult world, who need to be able to travel to and from work, school, and social events independently. Travel trainers help all of these populations gain a sense of independence and pride in being able to move about their communities on their own.
The time is takes to train a client varies depending on a variety of factors, since everyone learns in different styles and at different paces, and everyone has a different amount of time to dedicate to training sessions. There are other geographic factors at play here, too, since the length of the trip itself and the amount of time required for transfers has a direct impact on the amount of time travel trainers spend with clients. The goal of training is not only to teach you how to use public transportation, but to also make sure that the trainee is comfortable doing so. The client at the end of training should be entirely comfortable locating a bus, boarding a crowded bus, asking an operator or fellow passenger safely for help when necessary, and knowing what to do in an emergency.
There are many pieces to our travel training curriculum, and if you ever want to learn more, we’d be happy to answer your questions. Or better yet, join us for one of our group training sessions!