Skip to main content

First Stop - Helping you help others

Back to First Stop

Public transport in NSW is easier to use than ever. However, there are still times when some people may need assistance to travel safely and independently.

First Stop Transport is a guide for anyone capable of using public transport. This section of the guide has information and resources to help you travel train others. It addresses many of the concerns people may feel about using public transport.

Travel training promotes the independent and safe use of public transport. Training can be provided to individuals or groups. It can involve anything from information sessions, to activities or simulations, to real practice using the NSW public transport network.

Who are these resources for?

You don’t have to be a professional to provide travel training. These resources can be used by anyone wanting to help other people (such as family members or friends) use public transport. Whether you’re an experienced trainer, or just starting out, there is something here for you.

Travel training is an important service. It increases people’s transport options – giving them greater independence, and the opportunity to participate in the community.

Travel training is a learner-centred training process, with the goal of promoting independent and safe use of public transport. Training is flexible, but follows a pathway based on the learner’s objectives, wants and needs, and the barriers they experience to accessing public transport.

Travel training is not a transport assistance program, but rather a process to help learners gain the information, confidence and capability to make trips independently. Through this process, travel training recognises and reinforces the philosophy that activeness and independence are vital to an individual’s health and wellbeing. It also promotes independent and safe travel across the entire community.

  • Increases the independent and safe use of public transport
  • Promotes activeness and independence
  • Addresses the barriers to accessing public transport

Everyone’s different, and we all have different levels of ability, experience and confidence with using public transport. Because of this, travel training is a service that people use for many reasons.

Travel training is learner-centred. That means, as a trainer, you need to provide a service that includes considering the learner’s strengths and needs. Some common types of learners are described on this page.

Note: These examples are not exhaustive. You need to consult with your learner to find out their specific needs. Travel training may not be suitable for learners who cannot be reasonably expected to travel safely and independently after completing training.

Older learners

Our population is ageing, and there are increasing numbers of older people using public transport.

Older people may want travel training because they have:

  • Anxiety or uncertainty about using public transport
  • Physical or cognitive impairments
  • Lack of recent experience using public transport (particularly if they are used to travelling by car).

Learners with disabilities

Public transport services and facilities are continually improving. They are designed for everyone to be able to get around.

Learners with physical and/or cognitive disabilities may want travel training to:

  • Build their confidence with using public transport
  • Familiarise themselves with the services and facilities available
  • Develop strategies to use during their trip

Learners with limited mobility

Most public transport services now have accessibility features that cater for people with limited mobility.

Learners with limited mobility may want travel training to:

  • Increase their confidence
  • Practise using the accessible services and facilities available
  • Work out the best routes to take on their trip.

Learners from CALD backgrounds

A great part of living in NSW is the multicultural population.

Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) learners may want travel training because they:

  • Are unfamiliar with local transport options
  • Are used to different customs and protocols when travelling
  • Find communication difficult during travel

As a travel trainer, you may be providing training as a paid service, or you may just be doing it as a favour for someone you know.

Regardless of your reason for providing training, there are roles and responsibilities you need to be aware of so that learners get the most from the sessions.

You can explore travel training scenarios showcasing the roles and responsibilities of travel trainers in First Stop Transport eLearning.

Your role

Your role when providing travel training is to:

  • Centre the training on the learner
  • Assist the learner in achieving their transport objectives, wants and needs
  • Address and remove the barriers the learner experiences to accessing public transport
  • Promote independence in using public transport

Your responsibilities

Your responsibilities when providing travel training are to:

Discover the needs of the learner, including their:

  • Transport objectives, wants and needs
  • Barriers to access
  • Current abilities and capabilities
  • Learning capabilities
  • Local transport options

Your responsibilities are then to:

  • Plan and carry out information sessions with the learner
  • Plan trips to facilitate transport training sessions
  • Provide the learner with access to tools, resources and information, to facilitate their own learning and trip planning
  • Provide the learner with opportunities to practise using public transport
  • Assist the learner to develop coping strategies in case of unexpected events.

Travel training has a general pathway that you can follow. The three broad steps in the pathway are:

  1. Prepare to facilitate access to transport
  2. Provide information sessions
  3. Provide opportunities to practise using public transport.

As the pathway will depend on the learner’s needs, the steps won’t be the same for every learner. Below is a description of some of the critical parts of the pathway.

Customer referral

If you are a travel trainer with an organisation, you will receive customer referrals. Customers may contact you directly. Others may be referred through an aged care or other organisation, or your own organisation may refer the customer.

If you are providing travel training for a loved one or another person in your care, it may be because they asked for your help or because you identified their need to be more independent.

Either way, at this stage you need to determine their eligibility for training. Some people may not be eligible for training, as they may not have the capability to travel independently. You will make this determination through an initial discussion with the customer and/or their carer. You may be able to refer them to an alternate service more appropriate to their needs, such as community transport.

Determine needs

Your first meeting with the learner is a vital opportunity for you to determine their needs. This will determine the way you deliver the rest of the training.

What trips does the learner want, or need, to make? What barriers are in the way? What does independent travel look like for the learner? What experience and information does the learner already have? What level of capability do they have? What are their learning capabilities? What do they want to learn?

Plan the learning opportunity

Now you can plan the training to meet the needs of the learner. It may simply be an information session. You will probably also provide an opportunity for the learner to practise using public transport. Whatever the learning, it needs to be aimed at the learner’s specific requirements.

For example, depending on their learning capabilities, you may need to be prescriptive in taking the learner through timetables and other information, or you may only facilitate the learner in navigating this information themselves.

Or, depending on the learner's circumstances and transport needs, you may investigate a single route, or you may need to cover a wider segment of the transport network.

Investigate the trip

If the training involves particular trips, you will need to investigate those trips. Make sure you have all the information before you actually provide the training.

For this, you will need to take into account where the learner would like to go, and the local transport options. You will also need to take into account the types of transport that the learner is comfortable with, or would like to use, or is accessible for any barriers they experience. By either using maps or physically visiting the area, you will need to investigate any local issues, such as busy roads. You may also wish to consult local transport operators to confirm the information you have is accurate.

Take the learner through the trip and/or information

You have already planned for this step – now you just have to provide the training. This step involves providing information to meet the learner’s needs.

You may only need to point them towards resources. Or you may need to plan the trip for them. You may need to develop tools to use to overcome barriers or cope with unexpected events. For example, some learners may require “reminder cards”.

If you’re taking the learner through a trip, you must focus on the whole trip.

Practise the trip

Next, you action the plan and give the learner the opportunity to practise using public transport. As with providing information, this will depend on the learner’s level of need.

You will probably need to accompany them on their first practice. You may even need to take the lead, such as letting them know that their stop is next.

Review the trip

During and after the practice session, you should review the training with the learner.

How comfortable were they with the trip? Were they able to demonstrate independence, such as knowing where and when to board or alight on the trip? Would they like further practice, and how could it be different?

Any planning or reshaping of future practice sessions will come down to what the learner wants and needs out of the training. But it will also come down to your assessment of their progress.

Before providing travel training, I have:

  • Established the learner’s eligibility
  • Determined the learner’s needs
  • Planned the learning opportunity (including researching and investigating the trip)
  • Provided information about the trip to the learner