Users of the Aira app receive one-on-one assistance riding the bus and navigating the more than 5,000 bus stops in Milwaukee County. MCTS
The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) and the Milwaukee County Office for Persons with Disabilities (OPD) announced the launch of a pilot program that supports riders who are blind or low-vision with increased access to public transportation.
Through Aira, an app available on any iOS or Android smartphone, users can receive free, one-on-one assistance riding the bus and navigating the more than 5,000 bus stops in Milwaukee County.
The Aira app is an interactive tool that enables riders with visual disabilities to connect with highly-trained professionals trained to help read signage, identify obstacles, identify bus stops and offer verbal step-by-step travel directions. The app, which is available at no cost to users thanks to this pilot program, uses a device’s camera and GPS signal to offer accurate real-time support and guidance.
“Aira is helping remove longstanding barriers to independence,” said Fran Musci, MCTS Director of Paratransit. “Riders who’ve tried the app say it’s making it easier for them to ride the bus. This expands their transportation options beyond the door-to-door van and taxi paratransit services.”
MCTS is the third transit agency in the U.S., along with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) in Boston, to take part in an Aira pilot program.