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Monday, March 18 , 2019, 7:26 pm | Fair 59º


MTD Helps Braille Institute Students Accelerate Mobility Skills

Bus driver gives blind and low-vision individuals tips for using local public transportation

(L to R) Braille Institute students, from left, Imelda Mercado, Leandro Guerrero, Miguel Lopez, Oscar Marquez and Kaci Littlejohn participate in hands-on demonstration with MTD.
(L to R) Braille Institute students, from left, Imelda Mercado, Leandro Guerrero, Miguel Lopez, Oscar Marquez and Kaci Littlejohn participate in hands-on demonstration with MTD.   (Braille Institute)

An innovative collaboration with Santa Barbara MTD provided an interactive demonstration to help blind and low-vision Braille Institute students build confidence and increase safety when using public transportation.

MTD brought a full-sized passenger bus to the Braille Institute, which allowed students to get hands-on and comfortable using their orientation and mobility skills.

“This collaboration with MTD is a great of example of many community resources we have the privilege of extending to the approximately 3,000 people in our community affected by blindness or low-vision,” said Michael Lazarovits, executive director of Braille Institute Santa Barbara.

“We are grateful for these organizations in aligning with our mission to empower so many people to lead independent, enriched and fulfilling lives,” he said.

The demonstration was guided by an MTD bus driver who discussed useful tips and techniques for getting around Santa Barbara.

Students were able to try accessibility features, including a system that allows each bus in the MTD fleet to kneel down to street level, with left-hand handlebar. MTD busses also use auditory signals and announce their route number upon arrival at every pick-up and stop.

Braille Institute is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate barriers to a fulfilling life caused by blindness and severe sight loss. Funded entirely by private donations, all services are free-of-charge.

Braille Institute Santa Barbara is online at www.brailleinstitute.org/santabarbara, on Facebook (BrailleInstitute) and Twitter (@BrailleInst).

— Flannery Hill for Braille Institute Santa Barbara.


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