Metro News Release

For immediate release: February 23, 2010

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Metro partners with disability advocacy groups to expand training efforts
Regional travel training program for people with disabilities launched

Metro has expanded its efforts to teach people with disabilities how to use public transportation by partnering with Centers for Independent Living (CILs) in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia and launching a regional travel training program.

The two-year pilot program launched Monday (Feb. 22) and provides comprehensive, individualized travel training for at least 600 people with significant disabilities who require more than the one-day, individual Metro system orientations that Metro currently provides. Metro has been providing free, one-day, individual or group Metro system orientations for more than five years as part of its Metro is Accessible program. As a result, hundreds of people with disabilities have learned how to travel safely and independently on Metro’s fully accessible Metrobus and Metrorail system.

A major portion of the project focuses on helping low income people with significant disabilities learn how to travel to and from job sites and employment-related activities. Eligible participants who complete travel training will receive a free reduced fare SmarTrip® card preloaded with $50 in fare to pay for rides on public transportation.

“This project takes a new and unprecedented approach toward coordinating travel training efforts across the region,” said Rikki Epstein, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Operations Manager in Metro’s Office of ADA Programs. “People with disabilities will be armed with the knowledge and skills to independently use public transportation and have greater access to jobs and other amenities.”

Anyone who would like more information about the program or to sign up for travel training should contact the Center for Independent Living (CIL) that is located in the same state in which they live:

DC Center for Independent Living
1400 Florida Ave., NE
Washington, DC 20002
202-388-0033
rsimms@dccil.org

ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia
2300 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 305
Arlington, VA 22201
703-525-3268
rickl@ecnv.org

Independence Now
12301 Old Columbia Pike, Suite 101
Silver Spring, MD 20904
301-277-2839
INTravel@innow.org

The regional travel training program is the result of almost $1 million in federal funds that Metro was awarded in June 2009 to expand its training program in partnership with disability advocacy groups and social service agencies throughout the Washington region. Each of the three CILs have hired two full-time travel trainers (a total of six for the region) to provide comprehensive, individualized travel training for people with significant disabilities who require ongoing training.

Metro and its project partners will conduct extensive outreach to people with disabilities to make them aware of the travel training options available throughout the region and refer them to the appropriate organization for training. For comprehensive, long-term individualized travel training, referrals will be made to the CILs. For one-day individual and group Metro system orientations, referrals will be made to Metro.

For more information about Metro’s travel training efforts, contact Rikki Epstein in Metro’s Office of Americans with Disabilities Act Programs at 202-962-1125 or repstein@wmata.com.

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Media contact for this news release: Angela Gates or Lisa Farbstein at 202-962-1051.
For all other inquiries, please call customer service at 202-637-7000.

News release issued at 9:11 am, February 23, 2010.


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