As we wrap-up our celebration of the 27th anniversary of the passage of the ADA, it’s important to note that our work doesn’t just stop here. The RTA has great resources that increase access to transit for riders with disabilities, and we want riders to know about them. Allow us to introduce you to the RTA’s new county-based Mobility Outreach team.
This specialized group travels the six county region to provide presentations and attend outreach events at agencies that serve people with disabilities, older adults and students. The presentations and outreach provide information on transit-related resources and how to plan and safely ride Metra, Pace and CTA buses and trains. Mobility Outreach Coordinators also provide information on the RTA Ride Free & Reduced Fare programs, the Ventra® payment system, ADA Paratransit service provided by Pace, and RTA’s Travel Training program.
Let’s meet some of the Mobility Outreach Coordinators.
Kristen Salkas is the Mobility Outreach Coordinator for Will County and Southern Cook County. She has been at the RTA for six years and this is her first job in the transportation field. Before joining the RTA, she worked as a researcher for people with intellectual disabilities. Kristen is currently completing her doctoral dissertation project on a topic close to her heart and her work: transportation for people with disabilities.
“I love working in Mobility Outreach because I get to see the faces of our customers every day. When someone is looking for transportation services, I can work with them face-to-face and help them learn about all their transit options. It is great to hear when people are satisfied with the programs and services that the RTA has offered them, and it makes me feel like my job is useful and important. I love working within different communities of people and doing the groundwork to keep those communities moving.”
Rahman Burton is the Mobility Outreach Coordinator for Kane County and North Central Cook County. Rahman has been with the RTA for almost a year, and has more than 10 years of experience working in social services serving individuals with disabilities and older adults.
“I really enjoy the opportunity to meet amazing people within the community and make sure they know about all their travel options in the area. I enjoy working within a great team of diverse, skilled professionals here at the RTA. We have a true passion for ensuring riders are informed and educated about our services and programs. Each day, I start with the personal goal to help, motivate and inspire others.”
Sarah Blair is a Mobility Outreach Coordinator covering DuPage County and Central Cook County. She has been with the RTA for almost a year, and has five years of experience working with individuals with disabilities in various roles as a case manager, an advocacy coordinator, an employment program manager and an in-home therapist for children with Autism prior to the RTA.
“One of my favorite parts about my day is going to organizations and presenting information about RTA’s programs that many people did not know about. I enjoy meeting customers and helping others, whether it is 1 person or 100. It is such a rewarding feeling to know you may have increased a person’s independence by increasing their travel options. I truly love my job!”
For more information about RTA Mobility Outreach presentations, or to request RTA Mobility Outreach for a resource fair, please contact RTA’s Mobility Outreach Program at 312-913-3203.