Central Maryland Regional Transit Corporation (CMRT) offers two valuable mobility management tools to help residents and visitors travel in the Central Maryland region. These resources are the Transportation Resource Information Point Program and a Travel Training Program.
Transportation Resource Information Point (TRIP) Program
In coordination with the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), CMRT has developed a new model for disseminating transportation information, the backbone of which is a centralized database and call center that serves as a one-stop shop for public and private transportation services. The Transportation Resource Information Point (TRIP) project, funded through a Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) grant, is funding software development and personnel to establish the one-call, one-click center.
The project includes the cities of Baltimore and Annapolis, and the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard in Central Maryland. Also included are Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and Washington, D.C.
The TRIP web site not only includes public transportation, but private transportation services as well. Taxicab companies, private charter bus companies and even medical transportation providers are included.
The goal of the project is to improve access to information available to all commuters, but more specifically to low-income individuals, people with disabilities and older adults.
“The web site is the heart of the program as it enables easy access to public transportation options throughout the Central Maryland area,” said John Powell, chief executive officer for CMRT. “Instead of requiring residents and visitors to contact multiple agencies to identify public transportation options through the region, individuals can contact TRIP.”
A key component is the trip planning tool, where users can input origin and destination information and plan their entire trip using public transportation. Users can also view service alerts, news and announcements that could affect their trip. If public transportation is not a viable option, users can obtain rideshare information, which offers other alternative transportation options.
An additional feature of the TRIP web site is the ability to view real-time arrival and departure information. CMRT has partnered with NextBus Inc., which utilizes GPS technology to provide riders with accurate arrival times at various locations.
CMRT’s customer service center, which currently manages calls for Howard Transit and Connect-A-Ride bus systems, also handles the regional calls for TRIP. Call center assistance ranges from planning trips for riders who do not have access to a computer to helping riders obtain fare media.
For more information, visit the TRIP web site at www.mdtrip.org or call 1-877-331-TRIP (8747).
Travel Training Program
Through a Federal Transit Administration New Freedom grant, CMRT has implemented an “Introduction to Transit Training” program. The Transit Training program is designed to teach the necessary skills for individuals with disabilities and seniors to travel safely and independently on fixed-route public transportation.
CMRT’s Travel Trainers work with Howard, Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Carroll, Harford and Baltimore counties and the City of Baltimore to deliver trainings.
The program achieves its goal by using a train-the-trainer approach. Staff at human service agencies and other organizations receive training on how to access fixed-route public transit and, in turn, train their clients.
“By partnering with human service agencies, we hope to be able to train as many staff members as possible,” said Julie Rosekrans, travel trainer for CMRT. “This could potentially introduce fixed-route transit to thousands of individuals with disabilities, older adults and low-income families.”
Each training workshop includes an in-person classroom session that typically lasts four to six hours. Topics such as trip planning, travel instruction plans, street crossing, boarding, riding and deboarding vehicles and emergency preparedness are included in the curriculum.
During the classroom session, staff members are introduced to “mock students” and are given the task of becoming their travel trainer for the day. The staff must learn about the abilities and challenges of their student and then write a travel training plan, create a back-up plan and learn about bus and fare information in the student’s area.
After the classroom session is complete, staff members participate in a field exercise where they experience a ride on a transit bus and practice what they have learned during the day.
Participants are then provided resource material which they can refer back to when needed. A training workbook with information, exercises and worksheets along with a CD-ROM with copies of sample brochures and presentations are just a few of the resources that the transit training program provides for participants.
For more information on the Travel Training Program, call 1-800-270-9553.