JJ’s List recently interviewed Lincoln Park High School student Quincy Bane about how she learned to use public transportation. Quincy learned how to use the bus with the help of her Travel Trainer, Kyle. Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) Travel Training Program is designed to assist students with disabilities in traveling independently to and from school. Travel Trainers like Kyle assist students in developing skills for safe travel, including crossing streets, alleys and driveways safely; how to read and respond appropriately to street signs and lights; learning community safety awareness skills; and learning to use public transportation to travel throughout the community.
Q. Were you nervous about taking public transportation before you had Travel Training? Why?
A. Yes, because I didn’t know my surroundings. I was nervous about taking the bus by myself. I was nervous someone might steal my iPhone. I was afraid I might pull the cord at the wrong time and get off at the wrong spot. That happened when I was with Kyle.
Q. What are three things that your Travel Trainer, Kyle, taught you that helped you feel confident about riding public transportation?
A. 1) Kyle taught me how to use the app on my phone to see how many minutes until the bus arrives.
2) He taught me to put my phone in my coat pocket and not to use it on the bus.
3) He taught me when to pull the cord so I get off at the right stop.
Q. What tools do you use to help you plan your trip?
A. Kyle taught me how to use the app (CTA transit) to plan my trip to school and back home.
Q. Where do you go when you ride public transportation?
A. I go to school. And back home.
Q. How does riding public transportation independently make you feel?
A. Oooh, comfortable. It’s easy. It makes me feel grown up. Sometimes I see my friend Rachel on the bus. I like to see her.
Q. Are there other places you would like to travel to using the bus?
A. Yes, to my friend Nate’s house. And dance class. And Independence Park camp.
Q. Do you feel confident you could learn the routes to these places?
A. Yes. I will use the app. I might need help, though.
What advice do you have for your friends with disabilities who are taking public transportation for the first time?
A. Be safe when crossing the street. Wait for the light where the little man shows up. That means you can walk across the street. Make sure you look both ways. If all the seats are taken on the bus you can say, “Can you please get up so I can sit there?” Sit in the front where the disability seats are. Taking the bus is easy! It’s fun.
Q. What tips can you share with everyone who is nervous about riding public transportation?
A. Practice with Kyle. He’s the best.
Thank you for sharing your story, Quincy! We hope this helps other people with disabilities use public transportation more comfortably.