Go-Ahead Group owned Bluestar is working with community initiative Can Do-Leonard Cheshire, to help provide travel training for local people with disabilities.
The Southampton bus operator hosted a group of 11 vulnerable young people, showing them how to get on a bus, tell the driver where they are going and how to use various payment methods.
“Can Do does an excellent job, making sure people in the region have the chance to get involved in volunteering opportunities – and travelling independently on public transport is an important part of that,” said Nikki Honer, Bluestar head of communications.
“Our team was pleased to be able to support Can Do in its worthwhile activities by providing a special travel experience day. It also complements our customer promised training programme which our drivers take – so they are more aware of all those who journey with us.
“It was great meeting some of those who are helped by this initiative, and learning about their experiences. I’m delighted they’ll have the chance to enjoy travelling with Bluestar – and I’d like to wish them success in their volunteering and workplace ventures in the future.”
The group learned how to stand at bus stops and put their hands out to indicate they would like to board. They also gained experienced paying for tickets with a concessionary pass, cash, contactless and the Bluestar app.
Megan Smith-Josephs, programme coordinator for Can Do Southampton, added: “Can Do is a project for young people with disabilities run by Leonard Cheshire and in Southampton is funded by Comic relief. Can Do aims to introduce participants to volunteering opportunities, social action and how they can contribute to their community. Since launching in Southampton in January we have found many of the participants struggle with independent travel, which is such an important skill for anyone wants to take up voluntary or paid roles.
“Nikki and the Bluestar team worked to create a bespoke training session, which allowed participants to practice in a safe and friendly environment the skills which will make independent travel possible in the future. Participants also learnt about the environmental benefits to using public transport rather than a car, learning that a full new double decker bus would replace 75 cars on the road. Thank you to Nikki and the Bluestar team we hope to work with you again in the future.”
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