Bus Buddies are unpaid volunteers who ride the bus with new passengers to help them understand and use the MAX’s fixed bus routes. Bus Buddies help passengers read bus schedules, plan trips, locate bus stops, and actually ride with new passengers until they feel confident to ride the bus alone. This program is for able-bodied persons. (This program does not replace MAX’s Travel Training program, which is designed specifically for persons with special physical or cognitive challenges who may qualify for ADA eligibility.)
Passengers who may benefit from this program are those who are unsure or hesitant about riding the fixed bus routes, including seniors, youth/student passengers, those who are new to using public transit, or no longer drive or have a car to drive. Bus Buddies may not serve as Personal Care Attendants (PCAs), by performing such tasks as carrying packages, administering medications, or providing other care and services of a PCA.
Bus Buddies ride the fixed route for free only when assisting a passenger or riding the bus to and from a meeting location with the passenger, and they must show their Volunteer ID badge to the driver upon boarding.
The Bus Buddies program is overseen by a Coordinator appointed by MAX. The program coordinator is responsible for training and scheduling Bus Buddy volunteers. Every effort is made to assign volunteers with passengers with similar travel habits, needs or commonalities (i.e. students helping students take the bus to school, seniors assisting other seniors riding to Evergreen Commons, and persons who speak English as a Second Language (ESL).
Hours vary depending on passengers’ ability to learn the routes and their availability for training with the volunteer. Bus Buddies will ride with their assigned passenger as needed (within reason) until the passenger feels comfortable and confident in riding alone. Bus Buddy assignments are for one (1) year, which may be renewed and extended by the volunteer or Authority.
SKILLS & ABILITIES
- Volunteers who are already familiar with the bus routes and are regular or occasional passengers or have a willingness and ability o learn how the fixed routes operate
- Previous experience in training or education is appreciated, but not required
- Previous customer service experience or dealing with the public is preferred, but not required
- Ability to listen and follow instructions
- Ability to communicate clearly with others and explain concepts to others in an easily understood manner
- Ability to learn the fixed routes and bus schedules
- Patience, understanding and positive attitude
- Physical and cognitive ability to use the fixed bus routes and assist others with using them
- Ability to successfully pass a background check
- Orientation of the fixed routes
- Review of Authority policies and bus etiquette
- Review of Bus Buddy Intake Evaluation Form and Volunteer Time Sheet
- Riding of a fixed bus route at least twice or as needed to be able to assist others in riding the bus (This may be waived if a regular or frequent rider)
DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES
- Evaluate new passenger’s knowledge level and desired transit habits using Intake Evaluation Form
- Train new passengers how to read bus schedules, make transfers, pay fares and board/deboard
- Familiarize passengers with the transit system, bus rules and etiquette
- Meet customers on MAX property or at other locations to ride bus together
- Coordinating and scheduling dates with passengers to be trained
- Reviewing the bus routes and schedule so that you are able to answer questions and assist passengers in trip planning.
- Documenting volunteer dates and hours and submitting weekly Volunteer Time Sheets weekly to the Bus Buddies coordinator
- Wearing and presenting a MAX Authority Volunteer ID badge at all times while volunteering and/or on Authority premises.
- Adhering to all Authority policies contained in the Employee Handbook.
- Adhering to all local, state and federal laws while volunteering for the Authority.
- Other activities as needed or determined necessary.