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Canadian Transit at the Forefront of Equitable Mobility

National AccessAbility Week is an important annual event that celebrates the progress we have made as a society to facilitate accessibility and promote inclusion throughout our communities and workplaces. This year, National AccessAbility Week took place from May 27 to June 2, marking a time to recognize the milestones that Canadian individuals, communities, and workplaces have undertaken in order to “actively remove barriers and give Canadians of all abilities a better chance to succeed,” as stated on the Government of Canada. “We need to change the way we think, talk and act about barriers to participation and accessibility, and we need to do it right from the start, not as an afterthought. An inclusive Canada is one where all Canadians can participate and have an equal opportunity to succeed in their workplaces and communities.”

York Region Transit’s manager of Mobility Plus, Sharon Doyle, puts is as such: “Our passengers always come first, and we are built on a foundation of inclusivity. Everyone should have opportunity for independent and spontaneous travel, no matter their circumstances. When people have access to transportation, individuals and communities thrive.”

At CUTA, our mission is to inspire and influence the evolution of integrated urban mobility, and that includes equal access to mobility for people with disabilities. For this reason, we have chosen to highlight three outstanding projects with a focus on accessibility from our transit members, showcasing excellence and innovation in making Canadian urban mobility more equitable and available to all.

Regina Transit: Travel Training Program

Regina Transit is actively supporting people who experience disabilities by offering a program that shows participants how to use fixed-route transit service through its new travel training program. Paratransit typically does not allow people to travel with the utmost flexibility and spontaneity because trips must be booked in advance, and there are specific trip times to adhere to.

Using fixed-route transit enables people currently using paratransit to have another travel option. Regina’s program is unique because it is a partnership between the City of Regina, Creative Options Regina (a community-based organization supporting people experiencing disabilities), and the University of Regina’s 4to40 program.

People experiencing disabilities are hired to deliver the training creating meaningful employment.  For more information go to the 4to40.ca website and click on the travel training tab.

 

View the Full article here: http://cutaactu.ca/en/blog-posts/canadian-transit-forefront-equitable-mobility

 

Regina Leader-Post: ‘Champions of transit’: Reginans with disabilities will teach peers to ride the bus

‘Champions of transit’: Reginans with disabilities will teach peers to ride the bus

Dylan Morin will be one of four transit trainers who hope to help the city ease pressure on the Regina Paratransit system by teaching new skills.

Dylan Morin can get almost anywhere in Regina.

“I know the city like the back of my hand,” he said. “I know how to get to a lot of the stops.”

He’s been riding the city bus since high school, despite the challenges of an intellectual disability. On Thursday, he took the 18 from the University of Regina. Once the doors shut and the driver pulled away, Morin spoke in a soft, reassuring tone. Don’t be nervous, he offered, you’re not alone.

“There’s nothing to it,” he said. “As much as you need me, I’ll be there for you.”

Morin was showing how he teaches other people with disabilities how to ride the bus. He’ll be one of four transit trainers hired through a partnership between the city and Creative Options Regina, which are preparing to roll out a transit trainer pilot program this spring

“We’re the only transit system in Canada using this particular approach,” said Regina’s paratransit and accessibility manager, Lynette Griffin. “We’re utilizing people with disabilities, particularly people with intellectual disabilities, to do the training.”

Dylan Morin, pictured here riding a Regina city transit bus in Regina. Morin is one of the transit trainers with intellectual disabilities who will soon be helping their peers learn to ride the bus. BRANDON HARDER / Regina Leader-Post

She said the program will help Regina Paratransit users make the jump to conventional transit. It will also create paid employment for the trainers. The goal is to open up more flexible transit choices, all while saving the city money in the long run.

“If we can move some trips off, then we’ll have capacity in Paratransit to continue to meet our growing demand,” she said. “It will help Paratransit to manage our budget… for every trip on conventional transit, it’s a $20 saving.”

Those who learn to use buses won’t be barred from Paratransit. Griffin said she wants to avoid a “segregated system.” But she called conventional transit “a great second option” that can promote empowerment.

“It will give them the opportunity to travel through the community without having to book trips in advance,” she said. “You can come and go wherever you want, so there’s much more independence and flexibility.”

Creative Options Regina supports people with intellectual disabilities, and its CEO, Michael Lavis, is convinced that most of his clients would thrive on the bus. For many, only one thing stands in the way: Fear.

“People are nervous because they don’t know,” he said. “Sometimes people haven’t really been afforded the opportunity to learn.”

That’s why his staff looked for trainers like Morin, outgoing people with extensive bus-riding experience. They’re all part of the University of Regina’s Campus for All program. Lavis called them “champions of transit.”

“They know that transit system inside and out,” he said. “No fears, no apprehensions. They know where to go.”

Dylan Morin is pictured here on the left riding a Regina Transit bus and describing to Leader-Post reporter Arthur White-Crummey the process he will soon be using to help people with intellectual disabilities learn to ride the bus. BRANDON HARDER / Regina Leader-Post

Morin plans to use a staged process that will go from hands-on to hands-off as his students get the hang of the bus.

“It’s about getting individuals outside of their comfort zone,” he said.

At first, he’ll meet them at their home, walk them to the bus stop, show them how to read a transit map. He’ll sit right beside them as they look out for their stop. If all goes well, the next trip might be different.

“I wouldn’t sit with you on the bus like I did,” he explained. “I would give you a landmark to pull the bell at.”

By the end, Morin would be on standby, taking check-ins over the phone.

The program’s contract is still being finalized. But Lavis and Griffin are confident it will be up and running this spring. Griffin said all Paratransit users will be welcome to make use of the training, whether they have cognitive or mobility challenges.

Morin and his colleagues will be there to show them the way.

“They’re actually really excited about it and want to be champions for teaching others,” said Lavis. “That’s part of the magic.”

awhite-crummey@postmedia.com

 

Link to the Regina Leader-Post Article.

Learn more about 4to40.