Have you or someone you know thought about leaving the car home just one day a week, but have questions about how to navigate the public bus system? If so, a County Connection bus ambassador may be just the person to get you on your way.
County Connection bus ambassadors are transit users – they ride buses to BART, work, shopping, and to medical and personal appointments. “Learning how to use the buses at first can be very intimidating,” said Denise DeRamo. “For some people, just looking at the schedule is enough to send them in search of their car keys, and that’s where we can help. Ambassadors provide one-on-one peer travel training”.
County Connection staff will match individuals with one of our ambassadors for more personalized training. The ambassador will not only help individuals plan a trip, they’ll arrange to meet and make the trip with them. “Having someone along on a first trip puts people at ease, and once they see how easy it can be, their comfort level rises”.
County Connection ambassadors do more than travel with new bus riders. They can often be spotted at main transportation hubs like BART stations, assisting people who aren’t sure where to go next. When performing their community service, they’ll be visible in a bright yellow vest and have a photo ID displayed. “If I see someone come through the BART gate and immediately start looking around like ‘what now’, I don’t hesitate to go up and introduce myself as a bus ambassador and ask if they need help,” says Wanda Peets. “A lot of the bus operators know me, and point me out to passengers either on the bus or at the stations. It makes me feel good to be doing something useful – for something I feel strongly about.”
Two of the current ambassadors speak both English and Spanish. If you’d like more information or to schedule a training session with one of County Connection’s bus ambassadors, please call County Connection at 676-1976 ext 2066 or 2067.