Teaching Independence

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John Rosenlund, with the Northern Nevada Center Independent Living, says it's important for people to feel comfortable taking the bus.
"In a situation like this where people have a couple buses to practice on, people have the time. There's no rush. And, sometimes just them being able to do it just a couple times gives them the confidence and then they don't feel like someone's staring over their shoulder."

Almost two dozen people with disabilities had the opportunity Friday afternoon to get on and off the bus.
It may not sound that hard, but we gave it a shot and it's quite difficult.

Blossom Javier, with the Center for Independent Living, says the difficulty can keep some from even taking the bus.
"When you're on a bus and you're trying to train someone to ride it with a mobility device, the driver is waiting for you. The people are waiting for you. And, if you're having a difficult time, it becomes really upsetting. So, this way they can gain confidence by coming in and playing on the buses as much as they want."

Jim McGrath, with the Regional Transportaion Commission that operates the buses, says the training is also important for the drivers.
"The training is important because it gives a sense of independence. It also allows practice. People get used to getting on and off the bus with their mobility device."

This independence is important for the hundreds of riders who depend on CitiFare or CitiLift, which picks up people at their homes and takes them to their destination.
Riders have to qualify for CitiLift at the Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living, but then are able to get to doctor's appointments or jobs that aren't accessible on the normal Citifare bus routes.

Rosenlund says it should be easy for anyone to understand the importance of being able to get around town easily.
"Just like everybody else, you want to be able to have the freedom to go and do the things you want to do."