New app helps MCTS riders who are blind, low vision navigate 5K+ bus stops in Milwaukee County

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) and the Milwaukee County Office for Persons with Disabilities (OPD) announced on Wednesday, Feb. 5 the launch of a pilot program that supports MCTS riders who are blind or low vision with increased access to public transportation.

A news release says 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 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, uses a device’s camera and GPS signal to offer accurate real-time support and guidance.

Aira is also available at 45 other locations across Milwaukee County – including Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, the Milwaukee County Courthouse, the Marcia P. Coggs Human Services Center, the Vel R. Phillips Youth and Family Justice Center, the Milwaukee County Zoo and dozens of Milwaukee County Parks.

Once installed on an iOS or Android phone, it takes just minutes to create an account and get started. When speaking to an Aira agent, users should request the free Milwaukee County Transit System offer.

MCTS and its partners are hosting three upcoming training sessions for any user who would like to receive in-person assistance setting up the app and learning how to use it:

Friday, Feb. 7
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
MCTS Administration Building
1942 N. 17th Street, Milwaukee

Wednesday, Feb. 12
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Vision Forward
912 N. Hawley Road, Milwaukee

Wednesday, Feb. 12
5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Vision Forward
912 N. Hawley Road, Milwaukee

Those who cannot attend the training sessions can call the MCTS Mobility Management team at 414-937-3256 for more information or visit RideMCTS.com/Aira for instructions and frequently asked questions. Vision Forward (414-615-0124) and Beyond Vision (414-758-2736) also have staff members available to help users learn how to use the app.

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