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Transportation Services

This section includes information for people who work in para-transit, public buses, taxis, trains, and air travel as well as suggestions for people who have SLDs.

The following information is intended to provide a starting point to improve access to services for people with speech and language disabilities (SLDs), not caused by hearing loss. It is by no means a full comprehensive list of barriers or accommodations. It presents some of the unique challenges that people with SLDs may experience within this situation.

Contact us for more information on making your services accessible.

Sample Communication Access Barriers to Transportation Services

Many of us who have Speech and Language Disabilities (SLDs), experience the same barriers as people who have mobility, sensory and other disabilities. In addition, we may experience unique communication barriers due to our speech and language disability. These barriers may include:

  • Not being understood when booking transportation over the telephone
  • People hanging up the phone because they think our unclear speech means we are intoxicated or our device is an automated sales message
  • Not being able to communicate with drivers about where we want to go, or how to tie down our wheelchair or mobility device
  • Not being able to get the driver’s attention when in motion to alert them when a stop is missed
  • Feeling unsafe when alternate pick-ups are arranged by para-transit systems that use unregulated drivers with less experience interacting with people with disabilities
  • Not being able to communicate with public transit personnel to ask them to open alternate entrances to access vehicles such as turn-styles

Suggestions for Transportation Services

In addition to generic communication access accommodations, people who work in transportation services should know about:

  • Respecting our privacy about our travel arrangements and not questioning our ability to travel on our own
  • Communicating with those of us who have unclear speech or who use devices, communication boards or communication assistants
  • Ways to safely tie-down our wheelchair and mobility devices and finding out if we feel that this is done in a secure and safe way
  • Responding to our alert signals (e.g. vocalizations, body language) that we may use to get their attention if something is wrong
  • Communicating with us over the telephone when we are booking transportation
  • Giving us multiple ways to book transportation including text, email, SMS

Resources for people who work in transportation services

Suggestions for people with SLDs

Depending on the situation and our personal communication requirements, we may want to consider:

  • Preparing a message or having a written note to tell a driver where we want to go
  • Having written instructors or a photo showing how to tie down our wheelchair
  • Telling the person what they should do when communicating with us (Communication Access Card). Include a note that tells the driver what we will do if we need to get his attention when s/he is driving
  • Having our token and payment ready and placed in a location that can be seen by both us and the driver. We should also keep our payment separate from other money in our wallet
  • Discussing our preferred ways to book, cancel, confirm transportation arrangements with our local dispatcher (e.g. text, SMS, email)
  • Setting up a script for regular bookings with our local dispatcher (make your services accessible)
  • Discussing alternate transport arrangements with para-transit to ensure they give basic information to a pick-up service and confirm pick up and drop off as a safety precaution for those of us with SLDs
  • Having an emergency contact number ready in event of problems or transportation not coming
  • If possible, having someone with us when we are traveling in a taxi

Resources for people with SLDs