Abilities Centre Pathways program participants learn how to safely use public transit in Durham Region

Posted on Monday February 13, 2023

Durham Region Transit (DRT) is pleased to collaborate with groups and programs across the Region, including the  Abilities Centre’s Pathways program. The 12-week program is designed to introduce participants to everyday community settings—such as shopping, recreation and dining out—while teaching them important functional skills. One of the strong areas of focus of this program is on transit awareness.

DRT staff facilitate sessions to help participants build their confidence and learn how to use DRT public transit services. The one-day session opens with an outline of DRT’s services, website, apps and how to use the PRESTO fare payment system. Participants then board a bus for a real-world learning experience.

While on the bus, participants learn that transit operators are approachable and friendly, should they need assistance, and they are encouraged to ask questions or make requests if needed. Participants also learn to identify their stop locations, pull the bus cord to request a stop, pay fares, use the ramp, identify where to sit on the bus if they have reduced mobility or use a mobility device and much more.

DRT transit operators engage with each participant to make the experience as fun and as interactive as possible. Ashley Romano, Supervisor of the Pathways Program, noted that the recent fall day session with DRT led to many positive impacts.

“Having a transit system that is accessible and easy to use is essential to navigating any community,” said Pinder DaSilva, Vice President, Programs, Partnerships and Impact, Abilities Centre. “We are excited to partner with Durham Region Transit to break down barriers and offer our Pathways program participants a unique opportunity to experience transit systems in an accessible, comfortable and welcoming environment.  This is yet another step towards unlocking potential through accessibility and we look forward to expanding this partnership into other Abilities Centre programs.”

DRT looks forward to continuing this partnership with the Abilities Centre and engaging with organizations across our community to help people gain the skills and confidence they need to use public transit.