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Travel training

Travel training teaches people with disabilities and seniors to use transit safely and independently.

The Travel Training program is delivered by school boards, hospitals, day programs and a variety of other agencies serving persons with disabilities, in partnership with OC Transpo. Staff at these organizations are highly trained and all have previous experience teaching street safety as well as other life skills. Every trainee who participates in the program has specific needs and learns differently. Their success depends on the expertise of community partners.

How does it work?

Travel Training is a program that teaches trainees how to:

  • plan trips
  • recognize route numbers, stops and schedules
  • get on and off buses and the O-Train
  • stay safe when using transit

Mature rider in a wheelchair boarding a low-floor (kneeling) bus

Travel Training begins with instructor assistance in a hands-on role, and gradually leads to the trainee’s independent travel without the trainer. It is also considered a success when a trainee can overcome barriers and be comfortable taking transit with a support person.

Everyone learns at their own pace. There is no time limit placed on Travel Training.

A day in the life

Learning to use public transit safely gives individuals flexibility and control over their independence.

Watch Daniel’s story to find out how Travel Training helped him to feel comfortable and independent taking public transit, from heading to work, to meeting up with friends.

This video was produced for OC Transpo by BBC StoryWorks Commercial Productions.

Transcript and text description

Time

Transcript

Text description

00:00

The camera zooms in over Ottawa. Text on screen reads: “Ottawa, Canada”. Daniel gets up, makes coffee and starts to get ready for his day.

00:13                    

Daniel: I love Ottawa. I have a lot of freedom. I can go anywhere I want. My name is Daniel Pinsonneault. I’m 41. I love Ottawa because it’s a big city, so I can bus everywhere too.

Daniel boards a bus and looks out the window. The bus drives along a suburban road.

00:38

I take the bus to work. I work at the bakery and I’ve been there for eight years.

Daniel arrives at work at the bakery at Costco. He greets his coworkers with a smile.

00:50

My girlfriend is Laura. She’s a person with a disability also. Well, she also has Down syndrome, like same as I do.

Daniel walks with his girlfriend Laura downtown.

01:02

She knows how to bus herself, too, so we can bus together, train together and bring her back safely on time.

Daniel and Laura enter an LRT station. They wait on the platform for the O-Train.

01:15

Simone: Initially, when Daniel moved to Ottawa he lived with me and my family for about seven years,

Daniel and Laura board the O-Train and take a seat.

01:22

so he was sort of dependent on me to sort of help him to plan his voyages and his trips.

Text on screen reads: “Simone, Daniel’s sister”.

Simone sits facing the camera to speak.

01:27

Kathy: Daniel’s sister first contacted me ten or more years ago when Daniel moved here from a smaller community.

Text on screen reads: “Kathy Riley, Accessibility Specialist, OC Transpo”.

Kathy sits facing the camera to speak

01:37

She took on some responsibility when his parents were ageing. He came here not knowing anybody, not having any time of a social circle. We introduced him to travel training and taught him how to take transit.

Daniel and Laura ride the O-Train. They hold hands.

01:53

The travel training program pairs people with disabilities with professionals in our community who then teach them how to take transit. And it just enhanced his life.

Daniel and Laura exit an LRT station. They walk down the street to greet Kathy.

02:06

Simone: Then it got to the point with the travel training program that he no longer needed me to help him to know when to leave the house and where to catch the bus and where to make the connection. He was able to do all of that on his own.

Simone speaks to the camera.

02:20

And so that makes us really happy and I know it makes him really happy, too. Growing up, Daniel and I were really fortunate. My mum poured her heart and soul into ensuring that Daniel had the best of everything and she really advocated a lot for Daniel and really wanted him to be able to do what any other child would want.

Daniel: I was very close to my mother, I was a mama’s boy. So that was close, very close.

Daniel sits down at his laptop and types. The camera focuses on a family photo. Daniel picks up the photo and looks at it.

02:50 – 03:39

Daniel: My mother passed away since Family Day Monday 2022. I’m always a little bit teary, you know, when I talk about mum. That’s all. I’m good. Yeah, I’m good.

Simone: You having a mum moment?

Daniel: Yeah, it’s a mum moment again.

Simone: I have those all the time. Come here. I didn’t hear your whole interview but it sounded good what I did hear.

Daniel: Thank you.

Simone: You know what, she’d be so proud of you, sitting here

Daniel: Thank you

Simone: …telling your story. Right?

Daniel: Yeah.

Simone: She’d be super proud of you. You did great, OK? OK.

Daniel: Thank you.

Daniel speaks to the camera. Simone gives him a hug. The camera focuses on a picture of Daniel’s mother.

03:40

I love it here. You can be more independent, so I can go to places, like, far from here. Kanata and Little Italy, downtown and the market. And I know we love to go meet up with my friends. It’s party central.

The camera looks out the front window of the bus as it drives. Daniel and Laura arrive at a restaurant to meet their friends.

04:06

Simone: And if it wasn’t for the travel training program, he wouldn’t have the independence that he has today. So it’s really opened up his entire world.

Simone speaks to the camera. She and Daniel hug.

04:17

Kathy: Even after a few years, he was able to move into his own apartment, independent of his sister, and now he’s free to just travel the community.

Kathy speaks to the camera. Daniel and Laura hold hands on the street.

04:30

Daniel: I just hop on the bus and I know where to go.

Daniel speaks to the camera.

04:33

Text on screen reads: “Presented by OC Transpo. Produced for OC Transpo by BBC Storyworks Commercial Productions”.

How to get involved

To find out more about participating in the program as a trainee, or for more information and resources, contact the Travel Training program.

Visit our Transit accessibility page to find more information on the accessibility features on our vehicles and at stations.

Transit accessibility