For many service providers, when it comes to transportation for adults with developmental disabilities, ADA Paratransit appears to be the only option. But it’s not a person-centered or integrated experience for riders. So when Latasha Grant, Adult Learning Program Manager for Chicago-area Search, Inc., led a recent community outing for the individuals she serves, she took a different approach.
“I had just attended a Pace-JJsList.com Hop on the Bus Independence Workshop at Search, Inc., where I got the tips and skills that I needed to feel confident about introducing the individuals we serve to public transportation and taking our first trip,” said Grant. “So I led a group of individuals to take a fixed-route bus to a local barbershop for a haircut.”
By taking the bus instead of the contracted Paratransit van, the group got exposed to integrated activities that helped them be a part of their community. “We decided to take the bus to experience how to get on a bus, how to pay a fare, and to learn how it feels to ride a bus and be with other people,” said Grant. “We could explore and see new places and enjoy the good weather while it was lasting.”
“The service we received from the bus driver was amazing. He was very patient, respectful, and answered any questions the individuals had,” said Grant. “This outing was fun and adventurous for the individuals I serve, and it was very successful.”
Grant and her group are already planning another outing to downtown Chicago to walk around. “The Hop on the Bus Workshop made me realize that some of the individuals we serve can learn to use the service and be successful with ongoing support. We are planning more trips with hopes to use public transportation least 75% of the time in the future.”