O&M Instructional Guide to Incorporating Technology and Apps into Lessons- Part 4

Contributed by: Jennifer Freeman, Orientation and Mobility Specialist

Goal: This blog post will be a series of recommended tips and tricks on how to incorporate free and paid for apps into instruction.

The focus of part 4 is to introduce the various transportation related apps for O&M specialists to use for lessons and for individuals to access.

The young man who is demonstrating in the videos is a person who is totally blind. During a lesson, we briefly explored the apps for the first time and planned various routes using the public transit system, Uber and LYFT.

Appropriate for ages:

The apps can be used for all ages involving individuals who use or are learning to plan public transportation routes.

Materials needed:

iTunes: to purchase or add apps

IOS or Apple device: to upload apps on

Follow this link for a detailed account various transit apps for iPhones: Click Here

Transit Navigation App is free. It is Voiceover accessible. It works similarly to the transit navigation app. It can be used to plan routes for buses, subways, trains or ferries. It provides traditional transit details. You can email your information to friends or family for added safety. Lastly, you can set up reminders to help you grab your transit of choice.

Itunes store link: Click Here

2. Transit App is a free. On the transit app you can bring up immediate bus routes in your surrounding area and a time schedule of the bus routes. You can connect and get information on Uber car share or use Uber by yourself if you have the Uber app. The transit app works in over 165 cities and several countries. It is Voiceover friendly but does take some getting used to and problem solving to figure out how to use it. This app works similarly to google maps when it connects you to public transportation.

Visit app website: Click Here

You can download this app from the google play store which is good for Braillenote Touch users assuming they have a variation of the app. Additionally, you can read reviews on how well this app works if you follow the link: Click Here

Itunes store link: Click Here

Youtube instructional videos on how to use the app: Click Here Video 1 & Click Here Video 2

3. Uber App is free. I believe that most people have heard of Uber. It is like a taxi service but involves mainstream drivers that become Uber driver qualified. Uber is a revolutionary service for people who have vision loss because it is a door to door option for reasonable transportation. It appears that Uber’s are everywhere. Most people I have interviewed who have vision loss prefer LYFT over Uber. I have heard that some people who have dog guides get denied rides on occasion so put links to information on accessibility with Uber below. Some of my students have taken Uber to nearby businesses when needing to cross a street that they cannot do so on their own. The Uber app appears to be connected to many other transit apps.

Accessibility at Uber with a link to how Uber helps people with disabilities, specifically, individuals who have vision loss. There is also information regarding the service animal information and how to file a claim if denied a ride. Uber also has a program called UberAssist for individuals who need extra assistance: Learn More Here

Link to how Uber works and how to sign up: Click Here

Another link with explanations of how Uber works: Click Here

You can download this app from the google play store which is good for Braillenote Touch users assuming you can upload the app. Additionally, you can watch/listen to a video or read reviews on how well this app works if you follow the link.

Itunes link: Click Here

Changes to Uber: With mixed reviews of Uber due to any and all controversy or safety related issues, Uber hired a new CEO that is hoping to win back business. You can read about it on this link.

Should you tip the Uber driver? Read the recommendations here as they have added the tipping feature to the app: Click Here

A link to 9 Tips and Trick to unlock Uber features you didn’t know about including scheduling an Uber in advance, Uber eats, splitting the cost of a ride with a friend and letting people know about your Estimated Time if Arrival (ETA), a which is a great safety feature. FYI, this link has an annoying add you have to dismiss multiple times so that you can read the link.

Staying safe while using Uber tips: Click Here

Fun Fact: Interestingly enough Uber is working on developing self driving big rigs across Arizona with back up human drivers. Follow the link to read about the article here.

RECOMMENDED TIPS FOR USING UBER:

If the person using Uber has vision loss, he should wait until he/she gets a notification that the Uber has arrived with the phone number from the driver. He/she should wait by a easily identifiable landmark and call the driver of the Uber to inform that person that he/she has vision loss and that the Uber driver needs to come to get him/her. Communication with an Uber driver is key!

Check out the Cane and Compass Guide to Utilizing Ride-Sharing Services here

4. Wingz App is free app. The company offers private car services that you can pre arrange and schedule the same private driver all with the same flat rate. From what I’ve seen it is a tad expensive but if you want safety, security and consistency, this seems like a good option! Plus it appears that you can build a rapport with your preferred driver and use that person regularly. You can add the app and easily access it using Voiceover. Wingz is available in major cities in California and in big cities in 5 other states. You can arrange a driver for going to the Airport or around town. I cost compared the Wingz app with Uber and depending on how far your go, it could be significantly more expensive or close in price.

You can this add this app from the google play store. Additionally, you can read reviews on how well this app works if you follow this link.

Itunes store link.

Youtube instructional video on how to use the Wingz app: Click Here

5. LYFT Driver App is free. LYFT works similarly to Uber. I believe that most people have heard LYFT. There are also Lift services or access paratransit services but they are not the same as LYFT. LYFT is like a taxi service but involves mainstream drivers that become LYFT driver qualified. Just like Uber, LYFT is a revolutionary service for people who have vision loss because it is a door to door option for reasonable transportation. Most people I have interviewed who have vision loss prefer LYFT over Uber.

Link to how LYFT works and how to sign up: Click Here

Itunes store link: Click Here

Youtube instructional video on how to use the LYFT app: Watch Here

RECOMMENDED TIPS FOR USING LYFT:

If the person using LYFT has vision loss, he/she should wait until he/she gets a notification that the LYFT has arrived with the phone number. He/she should wait by a easily identifiable landmark and call the driver of the LYFT to inform that person that he/she has vision loss and that the LYFT driver needs to come to get him/her. Communication with an LYFT driver is key!

 

6. The Google Maps App comes free and generically on your iPhone. As stated in my orientation related app blog post I mentioned that the Google Maps app instantly connects the user to transit routes. The person using it can either choose pedestrian, transit or car routes. I have students use this app often for transportation planning related lessons because it does not require them to upload any additional apps. Once the individuals get beyond the prompt of the screen for directions, they are given the option to choose drive, walk, transit or ride. If the person chooses ride, they are linked to Uber.

You can download this app from the google play store which is good for Braillenote Touch users assuming they have a variation of the app. Additionally, you can read reviews on how well this app works if you follow the link.

Youtube video on using Google maps with public transportation link. It is a visual video only: Watch Here

7. The Lazarillo App is a free app and is one of my top favorites because it has everything that I used to have to teach the old fashioned way during a drop off lesson. The great thing about the Lazarillo app is that it gives instant access to the current location of an address. It can link you instantly to the local transit service and can connect you directly to Uber if you have the Uber app. It does appear to have some interference with voiceover. It is one of the top apps that I recommend that my students add to their devices.I feel that the app works great when you are out in the community.

Follow the link to watch a different youtube on the Lazarillo app! Watch Here

Itunes link: Click Here

8. Citymapper- Transit Navigation is free. It is compatible with Voiceover but I suggest that you play around with it to get to know it. You can use the app to plan a variety of public transportation routes including bus, metro, rail systems, Uber and LYFT.  The app works in various major cities throughout the United States as well as other countries.

You can download this app from the google play store. Additionally, you can read reviews on how well this app works if you follow the link: Click Here

Itunes link: Click Here

Citymapper app review on youtube: Watch Here

How to incorporate the transportation related apps into O&M instruction or daily life:

All these apps are free so I recommend that you add them and trial them all until you find the app that suits the needs of your student/client or individual person based on the city they live in, the budget and traveling needs of the individual.

When teaching public transportation planning to individuals, introduce the various type of transportation that exist for individuals who will not be driving. I have done this by discussing the differences between access paratransit, buses, light rail trains, taxis, Uber and LYFT.

Plan various functional routes to the individual. For instance my students often plan routes to the local mall, from school to home, coffee shops, preferred restaurants or the gym.

Upon mastery of planning public transportation route planning. Review what students would say or do when using the various types of transit. For instance when riding a bus, go over bus etiquette and questions to ask the bus driver. Practice calling access or paratransit.

Discuss what to do to locate a LYFT or Uber driver and role play doing so.

In service family members on how to use the apps so that families can practice the skills on their own, over the summer and when family members themselves don’t drive. Encourage families to trial the various apps and local public transportation services to develop understanding and knowledge of what is out there.

Discuss how to input payment into accounts requiring payment such as LYFT, Uber and Wingz so that the person can register their credit card information. Recommend that the person does not connect their debit card to any of the apps. At this time it does not appear that you can connect a prepaid over the counter credit card to these apps. However, explore local banks that allow individuals to get prepaid credit cards so that they can get the apps they need for transportation.

Lastly and most importantly add the various transportation apps, play with them, explore them, trial them, watch videos on them, read about them until the individual finds their preferred and most user friendly app and transit related service.

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