Discovermyroute: Inspiring Confidence Through Transit Training
When Liam stepped on the bus to travel to his grandmother’s house on his own for the first time, his parents were quite nervous. “He [had] been on a number of big transit systems…New York, London…but always with us. We were afraid he would ‘shut down’ if it became too crowded and busy,” explains Jennifer, Liam’s mother.
It was the first time Liam took transit on his own and ‘Granny’s’ was the route he had chosen to learn. Despite their worries, Liam’s parents’ put their faith in their son and were thrilled when he called to let them know that he’d made it to Grandma’s. “I could hear on the phone how proud of himself he was,” says Jennifer.
Liam’s journey began several months earlier when he signed up for=DiscoverMyRoute,a program that teaches people with an intellectual disability how to use public transit independently in Toronto. Created in partnership with Community Living Toronto, Community Access to Transportation Hamilton, Geneva Centre, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Kerry’s Place Autism Services, Salvation Army Lawson Ministries, and the Toronto Transit Commission, the goal of DiscoverMyRoute is to increase independence for those with an intellectual disability.
Students like Liam get 16 hours of in-class sessions and up to 25 hours of personalized one-on-one route training with a certified instructor.
“Every student has different goals and challenges, so this one-on-one time is critical in allowing the instructors to cater to the individual and give them the experience they deserve,”
DiscoverMyRoute also offers its’ students free access to its app, which is designed and powered by Moovit, the #1 transit app in the world. Features such as TTC route planning, step-by-step directions, and “get off” notifications that let the rider know when their stop is coming allow students to transition from a classroom environment to the real world.
After the successful completion of its 18-month pilot, DiscoverMyRoute has now launched as an on-going program at Community Living Toronto.. The curriculum will soon be available to other organizations who’d like to offer public transit training to the people they serve.