Dedicated travel training increases accessibility of public transport

Written by on 24th July 2023

Travel training for learners who find it difficult to use public transport with confidence, including those with additional needs, is helping to teach the key skills needed to travel independently on the bus each day.

Our Independent Travel Training Co-ordinator works with schools and colleges to identify those learners who might benefit from participating in the training. We give dedicated support to people who may find it difficult to make everyday journeys on their own, including leaners with additional needs who are often transported by arranged taxi to their school or college.

The training helps leaners without road safety awareness to plan journeys and gain skills to use public transport safely. The skills will help the learners to access education, employment and other opportunities in their community.

Find out more about Independent Travel Training.

Learners (aged 19 years or younger) may benefit from the support, which can be particularly useful to those with Additional Learning Needs. It ranges from short-term support relating to how public transport works, to long-term support about personal awareness, time, money, and road safety. Learners work with the Travel Training Co-ordinator on a one-to-one basis or in a group.

Among the first cohort of trainees to benefit from the training are learners Rhys Noble and Zoe Phillips. Here’s how they benefited from the process.

Rhys Noble, Coleg y Cymoedd student in Aberdare 

Rhys always used to travel by taxi to and from school, which was funded by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council as specialised transport. His transition to college brought many new challenges, from meeting new people to learning new surroundings and having to catch a bus. Rhys, who has Additional Learning Needs, had never caught a public bus alone before and does not like being in crowded places.

Ahead of his transition to college, Rhys started travel training in June 2022 while entering his last months of comprehensive school. He continued to work hard over the summer break, learning the walking routes to and from the bus stops, and began catching public buses on his new route to college.

By September 2022, Rhys put together everything he had learnt to catch the bus to college three times a week. He is now less reliant on his parents and is generally more independent, able to make journeys into his local community.

Zoe Phillips, Coleg y Cymoedd student in Rhondda 

Zoe also travelled to her secondary school in specialist taxi, funded by the Council. Last summer she started travel training to gain support and confidence in preparing for further education. She wanted to follow in the footsteps of her older sister who had attended the Rhondda college.

Zoe has Additional Learning Needs, autism and ADHD, and can be quiet and anxious around new people. Starting college brought challenges for her – like meeting new people and teachers, new surroundings, and catching a public bus for the first time. Zoe had limited road safety skills and found using travel phone apps hard to use – but she was very determined to reach her goals.

Zoe learnt the routes to and from the bus stops en route to her college, and built the confidence to catch the bus to college three days a week with the Travel Training Co-ordinator. She progressed to travelling on her own and with her new independence, Zoe is now also able to use public transport to visit her friends and her grandmother, who lives in Porthcawl, on weekends.

Councillor Andrew Morgan OBE, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Investment, said:

“It is fantastic to see how our Independent Travel Training has helped overcome the obstacles that prevent some people from using public transport, whether it is for school, employment, or in their everyday lives outside of education. Rhys and Zoe have worked extremely hard with the Council’s Travel Training Co-ordinator, and they now catch the bus to and from their colleges each day.

“The Council works closely with our schools and colleges to identify students who could benefit from the travel training, which is then tailored to the needs of each trainee. This could range from improving their confidence in using public transport, to planning their route or learning more about road safety. The training is a life skill, opening up opportunities both now and in the future.

“A huge well done to Rhys and Zoe for all of their hard work, and especially for their dedication in the months before starting at college! They are excellent examples of how this Council training initiative can make a real difference.”


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