Fresh off the success of their pilot project, RTL and CSMV expand the program to the entire school board
FAMILIARIZING AUTISTIC STUDENTS WITH PUBLIC TRANSIT
Longueuil, January 9, 2015 – Further to a pilot project that involved allowing a group of eight special needs students and their shadows to use the Réseau de transport de Longueuil (RTL) buses for free in order to familiarize the students with the public transit system, the RTL and the Commission scolaire Marie-Victorin (CSMV) are proud to announce that they will be expanding the program to all high schools in the school board.
The pilot project introduced at École secondaire Gérard-Filion, which took place from December 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, was a tremendous success. In fact, of the eight special needs students who previously used only adapted transit services, seven are now using regular public transit, while the eighth uses it occasionally.
“In addition to promoting independence in these young people, this program comes with the added bonus of improving their self-esteem. I’m very proud to announce that we will be renewing our agreement with the RTL. It just goes to show that when we work together, we can achieve great things for our special needs students. This may be a small step for our schools, but it’s a giant leap for the special needs students, in particular for their social integration. Now, that’s what we call academic success!” stated Carole Lavallée, Chair of the Commission scolaire Marie Victorin.
“I’m thrilled about how well the pilot project is going with the special needs students, who need to be given time to get used to the public transit system. This agreement is consistent with our goal of raising our profile in the community and implementing our universal access plan. By meeting the mobility needs of these students, the program allows them to achieve greater independence by gradually transitioning from adapted transit to the regular public transit system,” added Colette Éthier, Chair of the RTL Board of Directors.
The objective of the program is to give special needs students free access to RTL bus service outside of peak hours (between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.). The students’ trips are closely supervised by their shadows, who work with the students the whole time to teach them how to use public transit. This lessens the fear that can accompany the use of public transit and helps the students to learn appropriate behaviour for riding on city buses.
To guarantee the success of the program, a steering committee will be formed in association with the CSMV and the Association des usagers du transport adapté de Longueuil (AUTAL), in order to pinpoint the transit needs of this clientele. The six-month agreement, which will run from January 1 to June 30, 2015, with an option to renew, will benefit up to 400 students.
About the Réseau de transport de Longueuil
The Réseau de transport de Longueuil is the main transit provider for individuals within the five cities that comprise the Agglomération de Longueuil. The third-largest public transit organization in Québec, it makes over 35 million trips annually. With some 1,085 employees, the RTL is a major employer that contributes to the economic vitality of the region.
Ever receptive to its users, the RTL plays a key role in the lives of the people and the communities it serves by providing solutions that are efficient, innovative, and adapted to the evolving needs of its clientele. Improving quality of life for the citizens of the Agglomération de Longueuil is a top priority for the RTL.
About the Commission scolaire Marie-Victorin
Each year, the Commission scolaire Marie-Victorin admits close to 33,000 students, ranking it among the five largest school boards in Québec. It serves Brossard, Saint-Lambert, and Longueuil (Greenfield Park, Saint Hubert, and Vieux-Longueuil boroughs). Its 72 schools provide elementary, secondary, vocational, and adult education services. For more information about the CSMV, visit its website at www.csmv.qc.ca or subscribe to its official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/csmarievictorin.
Public Relations Advisor
Réseau de transport de Longueuil
450-442-8600, ext. 8145
Commission scolaire Marie-Victorin
450-670-0730, ext. 2018