Accessing Community Transportation (ACT) is a peer travel training business owned by Mark J. Susa, an individual with multiple disabilities. ACT training demonstrates to trainees, their families, and those who support them, how to increase their independence and gain greater access to their community by using public transportation services beyond those offered by the paratransit system. Because instruction is individualized, it offers trainees the specific strategies they need to solve individual transportation problems. The emphasis is on increasing travel options by adding public transportation utilization to trainee's current community utilization skills. This training emphasizes the potential increase in convenience, increased independence, and the reduction in transportation-related cost to those who use public transit services.
The reluctance of individuals with disabilities and their families to use public transit is rooted in:
The sole proprietor of ACT, an individual with multiple disabilities, has learned the skills needed to use the public transit system independently. His example refutes some of these concerns. The support of a job coach in team service provision allays other fears of trainees and their family members. ACT's experience and success help establish credibility that individuals with disabilities can travel safely within their communities.
In addition, ACT's training emphasizes the benefits to agencies of having a more competent staff who can support individuals in a more appropriate and cost effective ways. Use of public transit results in greater flexibility and individualization for individuals seeking community access. Agencies and their staff will not depend exclusively on agency vehicles or specialized transportation.
The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) may use ACT to provide direct training and related activities that would improve the quality of their services. Using ACT services on an as needed or project specific basis would allow RIPTA to maximize their human and fiscal training resources.