Under the Transportation Standard of the AODA, conventional transportation providers and specialized transportation providers must train all their workers and volunteers. AODA training for transportation workers must include how to:
- Use accessibility equipment and features safely
- Change procedures if this equipment is not working or if they encounter barriers
- Keep passengers with disabilities safe during emergencies
AODA Training for Transportation Workers
Safe Use of Accessibility Equipment and Features
All workers and volunteers must know how to safely operate accessible equipment and features of vehicles. For instance, they must learn how to deploy ramps and lifts. In addition, they should know how to safely handle and store mobility aids, such as wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters.
Equipment Failure or Barriers
Moreover, workers and volunteers must also have training on how to proceed if equipment stops working. They must know how to accommodate passengers with disabilities when the accessibility features they usually use are unavailable for a time. Likewise, workers and volunteers must know what to do if they discover barriers, such as construction, that prevent passengers with disabilities from boarding, deboarding, or otherwise using the service. For instance, if a passenger can only use one of the available payment methods and this method is temporarily not working, drivers should know how to proceed so that this passenger can still use the service.
Furthermore, workers and volunteers need to know what they should do in an emergency to help passengers with disabilities exit the vehicle safely.
Types of Training
AODA training for transportation workers should be part of transportation providers’ general training programs. Programs may be classroom-based or involve online learning. This flexibility allows transportation providers to integrate AODA training into pre-existing training schedules. For instance, new workers may receive their AODA training as part of a larger training module. Similarly, transportation providers that offer refresher training may take the opportunity to refresh workers’ AODA training.
More Training Needed
AODA training for transportation workers is necessary and valuable. However, workers and volunteers could benefit still more from training on how to interact with passengers who have disabilities. Workers in other industries often receive much more extensive training under the Customer Service Standard of the AODA. For instance, they learn how to ask customers whether they need help and that the customer can explain how best to help if any assistance is needed. Similarly, customer service staff learn that they should speak directly to a customer with a disability, instead of expecting a nearby non-disabled person to be a go-between. Transportation workers who are more aware of these and other best practices will be better able to discuss equipment, overcome barriers, and respond to emergencies.
In addition, workers and volunteers should know about some communication methods passengers might use, such as:
- Alternative or augmentative communication devices
- Writing or gesturing instead of speaking
- Clear language instead of figures of speech
Likewise, workers and volunteers may also benefit from basic knowledge about smaller mobility aids, such as crutches, support canes, and white canes. They should also know how to welcome and interact with service animals. More detailed training would help transportation providers do their jobs more easily and effectively.