Mobility Management Programs
Bus Ambassadors Program
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.
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.
Ride With Me
GPCOG and PACTS have been working to advance the inclusion of underrepresented communities in shaping the region's transportation system. In 2019, GPCOG developed and piloted the Community Transportation Leaders (CTL) Program. The program supports participants to gain the knowledge and tools needed for meaningful participation in transportation planning and the decision-making process.
The idea of the Ride With Me event was born out of a CTL presentation to the PACTS Executive Committee which included CTL members' concerns about the regional transportation system and ideas for solutions. When PACTS Executive Committee members asked how they could help, one response suggested it might be helpful for decision-makers to ride with CTL members from a specific start point (origin) to a specific end point (destination) to experience the challenges and barriers that people who depend on public transportation face.
The event goals are to:
- Empower people with lived experience of transportation barriers to share their experience, perspectives, and ideas with decision-makers.
- Enable decision-makers to get first-hand insight into the challenges experienced by community members with transportation barriers.
- Raise awareness in the region about transportation challenges and solutions.