Written by: Mark Downey

When I started at Richmond Society for Community Living back in 2006, my mom and foster parents wanted me to take Handy Dart to my program or be driven by my dad because it was safer than public transportation. When I tried taking Handy Dart, I didn’t like waiting and I was often the last to be dropped off at home.

I would often be late for activities at my day program or be late coming home because the transportation schedule didn’t match the day program schedule. This was very frustrating. I had no control over when to leave my house, when to arrive at a destination and when to get home.

I thought I couldn’t change it, but about a year and a half later I started making baby steps how to take the bus independently.

My dad would walk me to the bus stop in the morning and in the afternoon a staff member would make sure I got on the bus to go home. My dad would be waiting for me at the bus stop for us to walk home together.

My mom and foster mom were nervous that I would get hurt. I practiced with support and then eventually I started taking the bus on my own. Thirteen years later, I am very confident with using public transportation and I know many routes in Richmond.

I also live independently now and my family is no longer nervous about my safety. Handy Dart is a good service but it didn’t work for my schedule when I first needed it. I am open to using Handy Dart if I ever need to but for now I’m happy with my independence.

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