Learn to ride with travel training and bus buddies

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Rreliable and accessible public transport is a lifeline for many of us. But transit systems work differently in different cities, states, and countries, and no one wants to delay the morning commute by asking endless questions or figuring out the right fare. Regionally, Intercity Transit offers fast, free and secure service seven days a week. For newcomers to the area, as well as those new to public transportation, they also offer travel training and bus friends to teach people when, where and how to drive.

Intercity Transit offers Bus Buddy and Travel Training programs to help new riders get to grips with the system. Photo courtesy of: Intercity Transit

Travel training can be given one-to-one or in small groups. It adapts to your pace and teaches you how to plan your trip, understand timetables, find bus stops, make transfers and communicate your needs with the driver.

Bus Buddies, on the other hand, are experienced volunteer drivers who are matched with a new driver or anyone who needs a little help answering questions, explaining things to them and sharing real-time tips. , on real journeys. They can also work with groups planning fun outings to concerts, museums, and other exciting destinations like the Puyallup Fair, Port Townsend, and the Washington State History Museum. These are planned in advance and you can even go on a trip if it catches your eye.

“A Travel Trainer teaches a person all the skills needed to take the bus,” says Diana Claus, Travel Training Coordinator. “A Bus Buddy is a volunteer who accompanies people who have all the skills but who are not ready to go alone.

“Travel Training is best suited for teaching cyclists who are new or have limited experience in public transport,” says coordinator Christina Loomis. “Travel Training is also a great resource for transitioning students, seniors who want to quit driving and newcomers to the area. Travel Training also works with people using new mobility devices, such as electric wheelchairs or scooters. We help them learn how to maneuver their aircraft on the bus, position it for docking and disembark with the aircraft.

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Volunteer bus buddies accompany you to learn the ropes and familiarize you with your trip. Photo courtesy of: Intercity Transit

“The Bus Buddy program is an excellent choice for planned field trips using public transportation,” Loomis continues. “It is also a support service for people using public transport who need someone to do their shopping or go to the doctor with them. The Bus Buddy can provide travel information, assistance with groceries, and assistance getting to and from medical appointments.

Claus explains that “Travel Trainers are paid employees of Intercity Transit while Bus Buddy is a volunteer program from Catholic Community Services, funded by a grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation, which works closely with Intercity. Transit. The Bus Buddy program has a paid part-time coordinator and 11 volunteers.

Both programs are free and open to anyone who wishes to learn how to use the Intercity Transit bus service. Riders can start with travel training and then use a bus buddy to make sure they have a full understanding before embarking on solo exploration. There is no time limit for using either program. The goal is to make riders feel fully prepared to ride day and night. “There is no shame in not knowing how to do something,” says Claus. “We’re here to help you achieve your independent transportation goals. “

Bikers use these services for a variety of needs and for varying lengths of time. A female rider needed help planning her trip from her home to the SPSCC. After one session, she had understood it. Another biker likes to go to church in Tacoma once a month but cannot travel alone. An older client who recently moved into a retirement home asked for help on her first trip to and from the new location, while a disabled biker asked for help finding a new job. The two got things under control in just a few sessions.

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Travel training can be individual lessons or in small groups. They adapt to their own pace and explain all that IT has to offer. Photo courtesy of: Intercity Transit

To request assistance, there are several ways to contact us. Simply call Travel Training at 360.705.5879, Customer Service at 360.786.1881, email [email protected], visit their website or drop by the office located in downtown Olympia Transit Center. To request a carpool, call 360.688.8832 and give 72 hours’ notice for local trips and three to five business days for trips outside the county. Want a presentation for your group or organization? Email [email protected] and schedule one today.

Americans board public transportation 34 million times every day of the week, according to the American Public Transportation Association. But each of those runners was once a new runner, nervously preparing for their very first trip. Intercity Transit travel coaches and bus buddies want your next commute to be smooth and hassle-free. Let them help you find a low stress transportation solution and start over.

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