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third City to have a transit system that has partnered with the app ‘Aira.’ Inbox x

The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) has announced a new pilot  program that visually-impaired riders say has potential to change  lives.

 On Wednesday, MCTS announced that Milwaukee will become the third city  in the nation, behind New York and Boston, to have a transit system  that has partnered with the app ‘Aira.’

The app connects users with professionals using their smartphone  cameras, allowing those professionals to provide real-time assistance  to blind and visually-impaired riders.

 The highly trained professionals are able to help riders read signage,  find their way to and from bus stops, identify obstacles and offer  real-time directions.

“My blindness, just like any other disability, presents me with  challenges and hurdles that I face every day from reading my mail, to  identifying items in the kitchen, to navigating around my community,  no matter if it’s getting to work, or doctors appointments or getting  my kids to and from school,” said Cory Ballard, who was candid about  those challenges during a press conference on Wednesday. “Technology  has allowed me to overcome those challenges and has allowed me to jump  those hurdles.”

 “With this partnership, it can really empower individuals and give  them the confidence that they need to become confident travelers in  their community,” said Ballard.

 The Aira app is not new to Milwaukee. There are more than 45 different  places around the city of Milwaukee that offer Aira assistance.

 The pilot program will allow travelers who use MCTS to get around even  easier, for free.

“Now, in Milwaukee County, you could land at the airport, head  straight to the zoo, hit up a few of our parks and then come visit me  at the courthouse all using the Aira app to get around. That is  something that wouldn’t have been thinkable years ago and now it’s not  just thinkable -its the new norm,” said Milwaukee County Exec. Chris  Abele.

 Israel Cazares, who is visually impaired and works hard to help make  the city of Milwaukee more accessible, said the new tool will help  with day-to-day life.

“It’s tremendously exciting that Aira is now available to, not only  take us to work, but take us from work and of course, in case you  didn’t know, Aira is also available at a lot of the beer gardens in  the area and, who doesn’t like a beer in Milwaukee?” said Cazares.

 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. Those will be held:

 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 their website for instructions.

 Testimonials 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

Event Starts: 
Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 14:20
Event Ends: 
Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 14:20
Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS)
Contact Phone: 
Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 14:15 to Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 14:15

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