The Center For Independent Living's Mobility Matters Program

By Annie Malev
Friday May 11, 2012 - 09:42:00 PM

No matter what one's circumstances are during any time in life, it's always nice to know what support and resources are available to help reach one's goals. 

What if you lost your sight at age 45 and you can no longer drive ? How can you take BART or bus on your own to suit your schedule? Who can you initially trust, and rely on, to help guide you ? 

What if you are 17, and had cerebral palsy all your life. You use a wheelchair, and no longer wish to depend on your parents for transportation, especially now that you want to meet with friends, and partake in various activities that enrich your life. Who has the knowledge or time to teach you how to use mass transit? Wouldn't it be great to have some personalized travel training sessions with an experienced, professional travel trainer, who can offer support, and teach you the skills that suit your specific needs. 

CIL's Mobility Matters program helped Mr. E. H. get around town in his wheelchair when he was in his late 80's. Even though CIL built him a ramp so he could get in and out of his apartment, he was afraid to travel on the city sidewalks, and cross the streets, so he still never went out. Then he met with one of CIL's travel trainers, Leslie S, who also uses a wheelchair. She worked with him for four months, gradually helping him overcome all of his traveling anxiety. One of his most rewarding experiences was when he confidently crossed a very busy intersection to make it to his favorite restaurant. 

The Center for Independent Living (CIL) is currently providing free travel-training services to people of all ages with disabilities who would like to master using AC Transit and/or BART to get around northern Alameda County. 

The Mobility Matters Project, funded by grants from the Alameda County Transportation Commission and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, is a program designed to help people with disabilities and senior citizens enjoy greater independence by empowering them with the confidence and skills needed to safely and effectively use public transit. 

Our one-on-one mobility instructors can help eligible Alameda County residents achieve a variety of transportation-related goals, including: 

  • Learning to access AC Transit and/or BART generally,
  • Mastering specific route(s) on AC Transit and/or BART,
  • Applying for an RTC (Regional Transit Connection) Discount Card for people with disabilities, which can help one save up to 75% off one's AC Transit fares and 63% off one's BART fares.
  • Obtaining information with which to plan trips using the 511.org website and phone service, and
  • Using a mobility device (such as a cane, walker, wheelchair, or scooter) to travel throughout the community using both public transit and pedestrian rights-of-way.
Mobility Matters Project services are provided free of charge. People choose their travel objectives, and may stop participating whenever they wish. Enrollment is a quick and simple process, and we meet at locations that are convenient for them.

Please feel free to pass this information on to anyone who you think might be interested, and for more info please contact:

Annie Malev
Transit Outreach Specialist

Center for Independent Living
3075 Adeline Street, Suite 100
Berkeley, CA 94703

(510) 841-4776 ext. 3127