Transportation is a basic need that allows individuals to access essential services, participate in the community and pursue opportunities for personal and professional growth. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to transportation or there are barriers such as physical disabilities or distance to/from the bus route that can prevent individuals from getting where they need to go. That’s where Valley Transit’s Mobility Manager, Sarah Schneider, comes in and assists.

A mobility manager is a transportation professional who helps identify which transportation options are available and helps riders overcome or remove any barriers to accessing them. Due to the numerous transportation solutions that exist, and the unique needs of every individual rider, Schneider assists everyone to determine eligibility, efficiencies, affordability, accessibility and service availability.

“It’s like a big puzzle because no two travelers are the same,” said Schneider. “Transportation can be very challenging depending on someone’s time of travel, purpose of trip, geography, age, physical ability, frequency and even attitude.”

Schneider is that resource who personally helps identify, educate, and coordinate which transportation solutions are available – or advocate for new solutions that don’t exist — to help people get to where they need to go, when they need to go there.

The two most common barriers that Schneider says she encounters are fear and finances. Fear of embarrassment, getting lost, getting on the right bus, missing the bus or getting stranded to name a few. For this reason, Valley Transit created a travel training program for riders to get individualized attention and help them learn how to use the bus with training that is customized for new riders.

“Travel training is designed to help first-time riders or groups, regardless of age or differing levels of ability, and help build confidence to use the bus independently,” said Schneider.

Schneider’s role also includes relationship building within the community. She not only enjoys working closely with riders, but also with local non-profit organizations, employers, medical facilities, senior communities, schools and universities, human service agencies, other transportation providers and community stakeholders.

“These organizations are essential in that they provide the services, experiences, jobs, education, support and resources that our riders need access to,” said Schneider. “These partnerships are great referral sources to let members of the community know that Valley Transit has a mobility manager, and it saves these organizations from having to know everything about this complex space. These collaborative partnerships are invaluable in finding solutions, improving access or eliminating barriers so we can help all members of the community.”

Valley Transit is dedicated to breaking down barriers to ensure that all members of the community can access transportation. By eliminating barriers and building partnerships within the community, Valley Transit can truly meet the needs of the community.