Eileen

Eileen“I ride METRO to go into downtown to the library, the Art Museum, or if I’m meeting someone downtown I take the bus. I have day passes on hand just in case I need them. Sometimes I give them away. I take the #60/61 up to Cleveland and I have those passes on hand, too. METRO is an excellent service. A lot of people don’t realize that it’s not just for people who don’t have cars. I love METRO!”

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Joseph

Joseph“I think I was the first person to come here at the time you opened it up. I’ve been using the quick charging station for going on two years now and it’s been a godsend. I live about 2 ½ miles away … and I can come here 24/7.”

Joseph is talking about METRO’s public Electric Car Charging Station at 310 Kenmore Blvd., also the site of the public compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station. The public facility opened in August 2016.

“I’m very grateful for METRO for providing this service. I think METRO is pioneering the way that a lot of institutions and businesses ought to be going where they have a quick charge station for electric cars because this is the way of the future.”

Dave

Dave“I started riding METRO in 1978. I caught the bus at Grant Avenue and State Road where Auto Zone is now. The METRO drivers would be waiting for me at the corner and I had to run for the bus (that happened quite often). I rode it to and from work in downtown Akron. I remember in the early days when the buses were underpowered, us healthy people would get off at the bottom of the Howard Street hill, walk up the hill and then get back on the bus because it was so crowded the bus couldn’t get up.

“I stopped riding in 2004 when I got a city car. I think I saw the fare go from 35 cents to $1.25. METRO is a great service. It saved me tons of money on insurance, gas, and wear and tear on my car. I have nothing but good things to say about METRO.”

Jeff

Jeff“I have a son — he will be 13 on April 13th — with autism. He is nonverbal, so he uses a speech generated device to communicate. For me, it’s not just about awareness. It’s about acceptance and inclusion. We don’t have enough acceptances in society. And in an autistic family, if you want to keep the family together, you need inclusion.”

April is Autism Awareness Month and METRO employees, like Jeff, are showing their support for the nonprofit organization KultureCity by wearing their “Awareness, Acceptance & Inclusion” T-shirts every Friday during the month of April.

KultureCity has partnered with over 100 organizations nationally with their Sensory Inclusive Initiative, including 16 NBA (originating with the Cleveland Cavaliers) and three NFL teams. Locally, the Akron Zoo became the second sensory inclusive zoo in the country, and KultureCity also trained Lock 3 and Lock 4, the Akron Children’s Museum, and are currently training 22 Akron-Summit County Public Libraries and The Akron RubberDucks to be sensory inclusive.

What does it mean to be Sensory Inclusive? Jeff explains that those places offer sensory bags containing noise-cancelling headphones, fidget toys, a card with icons to assist communication, and a calming weighted lap blanket that visitors can check-out for free.  There is also signage that designates loud and quiet spaces around the area.

“This is a movement that started with the Cavs and just took off.”

Additionally, KultureCity just launched their app that is downloadable on Apple and Android devises. The app allows you to find sensory inclusive places near you, access resources, and social stories.