Travel training pathway
Travel training has a general pathway that you can follow. The three broad steps in the pathway are:
- Prepare to facilitate access to transport
- Provide information sessions
- Provide opportunities to practise using public transport.
As the pathway will depend on the learner’s needs, the steps won’t be the same for every learner. Below is a description of some of the critical parts of the pathway.
If you are a travel trainer with an organisation, you will receive customer referrals. Customers may contact you directly. Others may be referred through an aged care or other organisation, or your own organisation may refer the customer.
If you are providing travel training for a loved one or another person in your care, it may be because they asked for your help or because you identified their need to be more independent.
Either way, at this stage you need to determine their eligibility for training. Some people may not be eligible for training, as they may not have the capability to travel independently. You will make this determination through an initial discussion with the customer and/or their carer. You may be able to refer them to an alternate service more appropriate to their needs, such as community transport.
Your first meeting with the learner is a vital opportunity for you to determine their needs. This will determine the way you deliver the rest of the training.
What trips does the learner want, or need, to make? What barriers are in the way? What does independent travel look like for the learner? What experience and information does the learner already have? What level of capability do they have? What are their learning capabilities? What do they want to learn?
Plan the learning opportunity
Now you can plan the training to meet the needs of the learner. It may simply be an information session. You will probably also provide an opportunity for the learner to practise using public transport. Whatever the learning, it needs to be aimed at the learner’s specific requirements.
For example, depending on their learning capabilities, you may need to be prescriptive in taking the learner through timetables and other information, or you may only facilitate the learner in navigating this information themselves.
Or, depending on the learner's circumstances and transport needs, you may investigate a single route, or you may need to cover a wider segment of the transport network.
Investigate the trip
If the training involves particular trips, you will need to investigate those trips. Make sure you have all the information before you actually provide the training.
For this, you will need to take into account where the learner would like to go, and the local transport options. You will also need to take into account the types of transport that the learner is comfortable with, or would like to use, or is accessible for any barriers they experience. By either using maps or physically visiting the area, you will need to investigate any local issues, such as busy roads. You may also wish to consult local transport operators to confirm the information you have is accurate.
Take the learner through the trip and/or information
You have already planned for this step – now you just have to provide the training. This step involves providing information to meet the learner’s needs.
You may only need to point them towards resources. Or you may need to plan the trip for them. You may need to develop tools to use to overcome barriers or cope with unexpected events. For example, some learners may require “reminder cards”.
If you’re taking the learner through a trip, you must focus on the whole trip.
Practise the trip
Next, you action the plan and give the learner the opportunity to practise using public transport. As with providing information, this will depend on the learner’s level of need.
You will probably need to accompany them on their first practice. You may even need to take the lead, such as letting them know that their stop is next.
Review the trip
During and after the practice session, you should review the training with the learner.
How comfortable were they with the trip? Were they able to demonstrate independence, such as knowing where and when to board or alight on the trip? Would they like further practice, and how could it be different?
Any planning or reshaping of future practice sessions will come down to what the learner wants and needs out of the training. But it will also come down to your assessment of their progress.