The Bus Ambassadors Program is a program that GPCOG is starting with a member of our Community Transportation Leaders Program, in partnership with Greater Portland Metro and South Portland Bus Services.
The Bus Ambassadors Program aims to help new riders with Limited English Proficiency in Portland, South Portland, and Westbrook to learn how to use the public transportation in our region. Bus Ambassadors are vetted and trained volunteers who speak French, Swahili, Lingala, Tshiluba/Ciluba, Spanish, and English. The program connects interested individuals and families to a Bus Ambassador who can provide support in their preferred language.
Bus Ambassadors meet with clients, virtually or in-person, to:
Guide new riders on how to plan a trip.
Provide and connect riders to transportation resources.
Ride the bus together to build confidence and familiarity in navigating the the transportation system.
To request support or to make a referral, contact Marcel Ntagora at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (207) 835-1834. View the flyer here.
We are still recruiting Bus Ambassadors who speak other languages spoken in the region. Please contact us if you are interested in becoming a Bus Ambassador.
Travel Helpers Program
With special funding from the Federal Transit Administration, GPCOG is working with partners to develop and pilot a Travel Helpers Training. This training module for staff of human services and healthcare agencies will prepare them to offer travel training to their clients and patients. Travel training is the practice of teaching people about transportation options and how to travel independently on public transportation – including paratransit.
The Travel Helpers Training will:
Support case workers and patient navigators – and other who work with individuals – to gain the knowledge and tools needed to help clients and patients safely and independently access transportation.
Use inclusive practice to ensure that the training module is informed by the needs and experiences of underrepresented communities.
Provide the model for a "train-the-trainer"-style travel training program that can be used in Southern Maine – and across the state of Maine.