Public transit services are helping people with disabilities become more independent by deploying trainers to teach individuals how to use fixed route buses rather than rely on door-to-door service.

While public transportation providers offer special bus service designed for people with disabilities and other special needs, rides often must be arranged at least a day in advance, limiting the number of trips a person can take and hindering flexibility.

Now, under a federal grant program, special travel trainers are helping adults with disabilities in cities across the country to overcome this hurdle by teaching individuals how to use their local fixed route bus system.

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In Ohio, a travel trainer recently helped Mary Ricketti learn to navigate the bus system. After 20 years relying on door-to-door service the woman with an intellectual disability says being able to use the bus stop right outside her front door will be liberating.

Trainers spend many hours with individuals, teaching them to read bus schedules, understand routes and fare cards and learn who to ask if they need help. They take test rides to destinations of the individual’s choosing and tag along until the person is comfortable.

Fixed route service likely isn’t for everyone, trainers acknowledge, but they say many people just need some help getting started, reports The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer. To read more click here.