GRTC Announces First Nationally Certified Travel Trainer

July 12, 2018
GRTC’s Travel Trainer Kelsey Calder is now the first ever nationally certified Travel Training Instructor.

The Greater Richmond Transit Company’s Travel Trainer Kelsey Calder is now the first ever nationally certified Travel Training Instructor. Calder successfully completed the Travel Training Certification program, becoming the first Travel Training Instructor to be awarded this prestigious certificate by Easterseals. GRTC’s Travel Training Program is funded by a Federal 5310 grant.  

Calder was already a licensed teacher prior to joining GRTC in 2016, holding a Masters in Teaching from James Madison University (JMU) with a concentration in Special Education. During GRTC’s pilot Travel Training Program, Calder completed substantial course work and passed her final practicum in June 2018. The Travel Training Certification program operates through the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida.

“This certification solidifies that Greater Richmond does need a Travel Trainer. I am the only one in Central Virginia in this unique job,” Calder explained. “My number one tip for riders is to grab a friend and ride together! If you’re unsure, it’s a lot easier to try something new with someone you feel comfortable. Simply getting on to ride round-trip lets you experience and know not only where the bus goes, but also that you can get back to where you started.”

Travel training is a process of teaching individuals with disabilities, older adults, and new riders how to ride public transportation safely and independently. GRTC is currently in the third year of its Travel Training Program; this service is open to all GRTC customers who desire assistance learning how to ride. Refugees to America located in Greater Richmond are increasingly benefitting from Travel Training. The primary goal, however, remains to provide current CARE customers the opportunity to learn skills that will enable them to follow a regular GRTC bus route.

Travel Training Instructors create individualized travel plans that aim to meet the customer’s transit goals and show them how to use fixed route transportation in order to increase transit options and decrease dependence on paratransit services. Participants in the program have one-on-one and/or group travel training with a Travel Training Instructor. Travel training is free and any participant is still able to use the CARE service. As always, all CARE customers may ride local fixed route bus service for free.

Easterseals’ Travel Training Certification program teaches instructors essential, practically-relevant skills, including: performing a successful trainee assessment, customized trip planning, environmental barrier examination, task analysis, training strategies, street crossing skills, boarding/alighting processes, and compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

One Travel Training customer wrote to GRTC, “The way I received training was perfect.” Another customer said, “I enjoy riding GRTC. I have gained my independence, strength I did not know I had.” These testimonials are exactly the kind of results GRTC hoped to achieve through this pilot program.=