Today, MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott, in cooperation with Somerville-based non-profit Door2Door Transportation, proudly announced a partnership destined to enhance the independence of Greater Boston transportation consumers, especially seniors and persons with disabilities.
Invoking the adage “Knowledge is Power,” the agencies are fortifying and expanding travel training opportunities for those interested in exploring and mastering fixed route transit (buses, subways, Commuter Rail) and other transportation resources. Travel training will be the first in a series of mobility management services organized under a consortium dubbed Ways2Go and funded with federal grant funds.
“I strongly believe there are many T customers in waiting,” said MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott. “All we need to do to is demonstrate how easy it is to use our system of subway trains and buses. A lot of people do not know that the T is so accessible and quite easy to use once you get the hang of it.”
In January of 2013, the MBTA’s Department of System Wide Accessibility introduced System Orientation Training, an introductory seminar for persons with disabilities interested in making use of the T’s vast array of accessible fixed route buses and subway lines. Participants in System Orientation get an overview of trip planning and hands on practice using maps, schedules and boarding buses and . They also get a tour of subway and bus facilities and learn about the safety features available in stations and on vehicles. By all accounts, the program has filled a much needed information gap.
At the same time, Door2Door’s Ways2Go program has been developing more detailed curricula to meet the needs of those who require more intensive assistance in order to master fixed route travel. With the new partnership, Ways2Go travel training will be available to anyone who would like additional instruction after completing System Orientation Training.
Travel training programs across the country are helping individuals with more complex physical and cognitive challenges become independent travelers, able to plan their own trips on fixed route rather than depending solely on paratransit services.
Door2Door Executive Director Reed Cochran notes, “We’re looking forward to opening doors. While Dooe2Door and the MBTA been providing paratransit for our neighbors for many years, many of our consumers long for more options and more autonomy in deciding where to go and when. For those who willing and able to adopt fixed route options, the world will be more at their fingertips. Ways2Go training will make the process much less daunting.”
Anyone interested in System-Wide Orientation and travel training may call 617-222-5237 or HowToTravel@mbta.com.
More about SCM Community Transportation
SCM, also known as Door2Door, is one of Greater Boston’s oldest and most-beloved non-profit providers of transportation. Founded by the communities of Somerville, Cambridge and Medford (SCM), the Davis Square-based agency provides 10,000 trips each month to more than 3,000 senior citizens and persons with disabilities regionally.
More information is at www.scmtransportation.org.