Moving about independently can often be difficult for many individuals in Carver County. Carver County is considered more rural than some of our larger metro neighbors and transportation options are more limited compared to some of the more urban counties in the Twin Cities Metro area.

Driving outside of Carver County can often be intimidating, or perhaps not possible. Weather, distance, road speeds, and unfamiliarity with how to navigate public transportation can all be barriers for individuals living or working within Carver County.

The Travel Training program was added by SmartLink Transit over a year ago and has since had a positive and creative impact on both individuals and communities.

A travel trainer is a resource to help people navigate transportation options, read bus schedules, use online transit tools and provide an overall sense of independence to those seeking ways to move about within the county and just as importantly to help people expand their travel log outside of Carver County.

Amy Melby, Carver/Scott County travel trainer, has this to say “My favorite part of Travel Training is diving in, getting on the bus alongside of individuals and walking them through the process until they are comfortable with using public transportation.”

Here is a great example of how Travel Training has made a positive impact for an Active Older Adult group from The Lodge in Chaska. Joan Seedorf, recreation supervisor for the city of Chaska had this to say: “This group had an extremely positive experience on their recent bus/light rail trip to downtown Minneapolis. For most of the 20 travelers this was their first time utilizing the light rail system, but definitely an outing that has been on their ‘bucket list.’

“Many are intrigued by the light rail, but just haven’t felt comfortable or taken the time to try it on their own. Partnering with Amy Melby and the SmartLink Travel Training program provided a great opportunity for our group to learn more, to practice their skills, and just get more comfortable with the public transportation system.

“Even if they don’t currently have a strong need or desire to use public transportation, our group may have a need in the future or find themselves in a position where driving on their own might not be an option. This program just paves the way for them down the road. These experiences allow them to learn in a more casual and relaxed environment alongside an experienced and very helpful trainer like Amy.”

SmartLink’s mission is to be the “go to” resource for any travel or mobility needs for those that live or work in Carver County. Having Amy on board as our Travel Trainer to work with individuals to find travel solutions is a great example of how SmartLink is invested in supporting the many communities within Carver County.

If you would like to learn more about the Travel Training services available please contact Amy at 952.496.8341 option 2 or amelby@co.scott.mn.us.

Stacy Finlon is the SmartLink marketing coordinator. SmartLink Transit is a mobility management team that includes Dial-a-Ride, medical assistance and volunteer drivers for both Scott and Carver counties.

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