MATT Bus Debuts in Fairfax County
Fairfax County Office of Public
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935, FAX 703-324-2010
Nov. 5, 2004
MATT Bus Debuts in Fairfax County
An innovative new transportation resource is now available to Fairfax County senior citizens. On Nov. 16, 2004, at 11:30 a.m. at the Lake Anne Fellowship House, 11450 North Shore Drive, Reston, Supervisor Hudgins and the Fairfax County Department of Transportation will introduce a very special FAIRFAX CONNECTOR bus which has been renovated and uniquely designed for training senior citizens to travel safely and independently on regional transit systems.
The bus, called MATT for Mobile Accessible Travel Training, will be used to educate seniors through a hands-on learning experience. Fairfax County Department of Transportation staff will coordinate "travel training" trips in which seniors will travel by bus and rail transit to and from a destination of their choice. The travelers-in-training will identify a bus stop near their residence, learn to read bus schedules and route maps, learn how to pay the fare and how to signal the driver to stop, as well as other nuances of bus travel. The bus will deliver seniors to a Metrorail station, where they will travel by rail, learning how to determine travel expenses and purchase Metrorail fare cards, how to read the system map and how to board the trains.
The Fairfax County Senior Initiative already has been offering travel training to seniors for the past year, using regular in-service FAIRFAX CONNECTOR buses. Travel training has proven useful in allaying the fears and trepidations of seniors who are reluctant to use transit, as well as those who have no other means of transportation. With the addition of the new MATT bus, now this training is enhanced with state-of-the-art technology and a virtual classroom inside the bus.
The MATT bus is an actual FAIRFAX CONNECTOR bus that at one time was used as a transit fleet vehicle, carrying Fairfax County passengers. This FAIRFAX CONNECTOR bus was completely renovated and rebuilt to current safety and fuel efficiency standards. It features all of the same characteristics as other transit buses, and can be used to transport as many as 30 passengers. But the most unique feature of the bus is a special area in the rear for classroom-like instruction. The classroom area includes audio and video components that can play VCR tapes, DVDs and computer-driven programs which will be shown on three LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) television screens, two of which are mounted on the ceiling of the bus. The MATT bus has been equipped with two battery systems: one that runs the mechanical side of the bus while the other provides power to the technology system in the classroom area. The separate batteries enable the technology to be used without the bus engine running, so no fuel is burned and no exhaust fumes are dispensed. The bus features a top-of-the-line wheelchair lift in the front entrance, and there is room on board for two wheelchairs with four-point tie-downs. Additionally, there are up to six cochlear devices available for hearing-impaired riders.
The MATT bus is available for individual seniors who wish to be trained and is also available for group residences, senior or community centers, or other groups in Fairfax County who have a desire to learn more about transit and transportation programs. To schedule a travel training session, or to charter the MATT bus for special occasions, call the Fairfax County Department of Transportation Senior Initiative at 703-324-1172, TTY 703-324-1102.
Supervisor Hudgins encourages the public to attend the kick-off event
for MATT at the Lake Anne Fellowship House in Reston on Tuesday, Nov. 16,
2004, at 11:30 a.m. Following the event, the MATT bus will move to Lot F
in the parking lot of the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000
Government Center Parkway, Fairfax and will be on display from 1 - 3 p.m.