Another important thing that we need to pay attention to is transportation. Getting a job is great, but if you can’t get to the job, that’s a problem. Now if you have a driver’s license and a car, you’re set. But what if you don’t? You have to do some planning.
First we need to think of all the options that are available. For example:
Ask a family member for a ride. If the job is near your home, a parent, sibling, friend, or spouse or partner may be able to drop you off and pick you up from work.
Public transportation. If you live near a bus stop or a train station, this may be an option.
The Transportation Disadvantaged Program helps groups riders together for a shared ride service. Transportation services are available in all counties for those who are eligible and have no access to transportation. Find the community transportation coordinator in your county.
Here are some things to know:
- By law, all public transportation must be accessible. “Accessible” means that it can be used by all people, with or without a disability. For more information about accessible transportation, please visit this website: https://www.transportation.gov/accessibility
- Buses and trains have schedules. You can get the schedule on a website, or you can get a printed schedule at the station. If you need help finding a schedule, ask a friend or a family member.
- You have to know how far the bus stop is from your work or home. This will help you plan what time to leave home to go to work, and what time to leave work at the end of the day.
If you’ve been on a bus or a train, you know it can be crowded, especially when a lot of people are traveling to and from work at the same time. In addition, if you use a wheelchair, it may be hard for you to fit into that small space that’s reserved for wheelchairs. An option for you may be para-transit. Para-transit means buses and vans that are completely accessible. You can call them and ask for them to pick you up and drop you off.
There are many benefits to using para-transit.
- All buses are accessible and have drivers who are trained to help you on and off.
- Vans can pick you up from your house and take you to work and then bring you home.
- Para-transit is usually a lot less crowded than public transportation.
Para-transit also has some issues you’ll need to plan around.
- It is not free, and sometimes it can cost twice as much as public transportation. You’ll need to plan for that in your monthly budget.
- You may have to ask for a ride at least three days in advance, so it helps to plan for transportation needs early.
- Sometimes para-transit can be late, so give yourself extra time to get to and from work.
Lastly, think about who is in your community that may be able to help you get back and forth to work.
- Does anyone at your workplace live near you? Could they offer you a ride? You could offer to help pay for gas.
- Is there someone from your neighborhood who likes to drive and has some free time? It doesn’t matter how you know them, but it should be someone you trust and feel comfortable with. If you ask someone for a favor, think about how you can return the favor.
Lucy’s transportation challenge
Check out these transportation resources from Employment First Florida.