Travel Training: Fostering Independence for People with Special Needs

Meet Jesse, Program Graduate

Travel Training Graduate from Community Transit on Vimeo.

Becoming independent is an exciting time for young adults. For young adults with special needs, though, this time can also be a little bit scary.

Jesse, who is 22 years old, was worried about how to get to and from his job at Lowe's. Normally a paratransit rider, Jese was limited to the less flexible schedule that DART buses provide. His vocational coach surprised him by suggesting he train how to take the bus. A few phone calls later and Community Transit was able to connect Jesse with Christine, one of the travel trainers.

"The first time I was really nervous going by myself. I was quite confused and worried am I taking the wrong bus and have to be late for work?" Luckily it only took two travel training sessions with Christine to feel comfortable. "The second time I knew where to go so it feels good."

Christine taught Jesse how to plan his route, how to determine his stop, and when to pull the cord to exit at the correct stop. She also taught him how to purchase and use an ORCA card which provides a reduced fare for people with disabilities. It's easy for Jesse to add more value to the card when he needs to.

Jesse's mother doesn't know how to drive, and so occasionally Jesse will accompany her on errands, like going to the dentist. But for his day-to-day life, Jesse is happy to just take the bus to work and home again, and he encourages others with disabilities to give our travel training program a try. "I recommend this to other disability people, so if they can't drive they can watch this story."

We are as proud of you, Jesse, as you are of yourself! Congratulations on taking important steps in your independence.

Do you know someone with special needs who would benefit from our Travel Training program? Visit communitytransit.org/traveltraining or call (425) 348-2379.