The first few times Jane tried riding the bus in Denver, she nearly had a panic attack. And she got lost.
Jane was no novice to public transit, but the Denver system was larger and more complex than she’d previously experienced. Since she used a wheelchair, Jane signed up for Access-a-Ride, a service RTD provides for individuals with disabilities who cannot easily access the fixed-route and light rail system.
While Access-a-Ride met her basic transportation needs, Jane still wanted to have the flexibility (and the cheaper cost) that came with using local buses. She was referred by Access-a-Ride to Brent Belisle, a travel trainer for Via. Working under contract to RTD, Via provides travel training to Access-a-Ride clients who want to expand their travel options.
Brent worked with Jane to map a route to one of her most complicated trips – from her home in Denver to a church in Northglenn. It involved multiple bus changes so timing was important. Brent tested the route to make sure the bus stops were accessible to a wheelchair. Then he and Jane did “dry runs” of the route until she was ready.
Shortly after mastering the complex route, Jane moved from Denver to Northglenn to be closer to her grown children. She and Brent are planning another training session so she can be confident about using the buses in her new community.
Via’s travel training program is available to older adults, people with disabilities and others with mobility limitations who live in the Denver metro area (including Boulder County).