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Consider the option of public transportation

Part 2 – What is travel training and how does it help?

For individuals interested in learning how to use the bus and light rail system there is a FREE individual travel training program available throughout the whole RTD system.

Via offers one-on-one and group travel training instruction to people with disabilities. Instructors are trained to use a variety of teaching and travel strategies to assist individuals in overcoming the barriers to using public transit due to their disabilities.

The travel training process begins with an assessment, which is usually completed at the prospective trainee’s home (often parents, case managers or host home providers attend as well). After the travel instructor learns about the individual’s strengths and barriers, and where the trainee wants to go, she will investigate what public transit route(s) are options and choose the best one based on the trainee’s personal strengths. Then the instructor and trainee will begin going out on the route together to practice using it.

The number of training sessions will vary based on the complexity of the route and the individual characteristics the trainee brings to the process. As long as the trainee is motivated and progress –matter how small, is being made – the instructor will continue working with the individual. Gradually the travel instructor “fades out” of the training process, and the trainee demonstrates being able to use public transit confidently, and safely, to their desired destination.

Sometimes parents or case managers wonder if an individual is capable of using public transit. By allowing an interested individual to participate in the travel training program one of two things will happen: you will find that with practice and strategies they can use the bus, or you will have a professional assessment as to why it is not a realistic goal for them. There isn’t anything to loose by “giving it a try.”

Via’s travel training program was established in 2003 and has successfully trained hundreds of individuals, with all type of disabilities, to use public transit to meet some (if not all) of their transportation needs.

UPDATE: Via has discontinued its Travel Training program. Visit our Travel Training page to learn about other Travel Training options in the Denver Metro region.

Susan Unger, Travel Training Coordinator

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