“It doesn’t matter who you are or what challenges you face, travel training is a service that can benefit anyone.” — Cari, Rapid Travel Trainer
Whether you’re new to The Rapid service area or just need some extra assistance in using the bus, travel training is a great way to become more comfortable on public transportation. But if you’re wondering what exactly travel training is and how you or someone you know can benefit from it, you’re likely not alone.
Here at The Rapid, we have offered in-house travel training for 18 years. We have two staff members who teach individuals with disabilities, seniors, and anyone just looking for some extra assistance, how to access their environment and community and use public transportation independently. Our travel trainers, Sarah and Cari, offer a variety of plans and program to best meet the needs of individuals or groups. “It doesn’t matter who you are or what challenges you face, travel training is a service that can benefit anyone.” said Cari, Rapid travel trainer.
Here are the four types of travel training offered at The Rapid:
1. One-on-one travel training
Through this portion of our travel training program, our travel trainers not only plan a trip or trips to best meet the passenger’s needs, they also ride with him or her to along the trip, and stay in contact with the passenger to monitor progress. For instance, Stephanie contacted The Rapid for travel training because she had just moved to Grand Rapids from California and was nervous to take public transit in a new city on her own. Prior to starting her new job, One of our trainers went out to Stephanie’s home with a schedule book and a route map and helped her to plan a route to work. The trainer showed her where her closest bus stop was located and what time she would have to catch the bus in order to make it to work on time. Stephanie received one-on-one travel training that was specific to the help she needed. After talking with the trainer she felt confident that she could take the route the next morning on her own.
2. Group travel training
More simply known as “Bus 101,” this specialized travel training presentation is an overview of Rapid services focusing on fixed route use. Learn the benefits and advantages of active transportation while receiving travel training information tailored to your needs as a rider. Bus 101 is designed to assist individuals new to independent travel options or those who support them to help learn the ropes. Group travel training can include an actual trip for groups under 25 or a presentation at the location of their choice.
3. Vehicle familiarization
This program is a great option for individuals who may be new to a mobility device. Since all of our fixed route buses are lift equipped and accessible, we offer a chance to get to know the vehicle prior to regular use. Our travel trainers provide information and practical experience to ensure individuals can safely board Rapid fixed route buses. Passengers are able to interact directly with an out-of-service vehicle so they are prepared for future boarding.
4. Senior Mentors
In conjunction with our travel training services, we also have a senior mentor program. The Rapid Senior Mentor Program is an exciting opportunity for seniors to stay active and mobile. Experienced volunteers are paired with any senior who may be new to using fixed route service. Through the guidance of our volunteer mentors, new senior passengers learn how easy and safe riding the bus locally can be. The mentor provides all the information, plans the route to a destination of the passenger’s choosing, and even travels with the new passenger. The mentor also gives the participant a free 10-ride fare card to start his or her bus travels.
If you’re interested in any of these services, it’s important to note that they are all free to participants. Our travel trainers will also provide each individual with bus fare for their training trips.
Reach out to our travel trainers to learn more about these services or set up your appointment. You can email Sarah Green at firstname.lastname@example.org, Cari Denanny email@example.com, or call the travel training office at (616)456-7514.