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Rideshare Training Opens to Denverites with Disabilities This Summer

Yesika Rebles takes an Uber

Honeyman Services Rideshare Training Ambassador Yesika Robles takes an Uber home Thursday, Feb. 28.

For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), rideshare apps open new opportunities to exercise independence.

Yesika Robles used to have few opportunities to travel by herself because of where she lives. It was difficult for her to commute to Honeyman Services, her day program for adults with I/DD, because she lacked access to public transit.

Program co-founder Dave Honeyman helped teach Yesika how to use Uber so she could continue attending with reliable travel. Yesika no longer relies on her mother to drive her to Honeyman Services. She uses Uber every day.

“It made a world of difference,” Dave said.

Dave and Stacey Honeyman have helped day program members become self-sufficient travelers for the last three years. This year, they are partnering with Rocky Mountain Human Services (RMHS) to develop a new a Ride Share Education Program that can help teach other adults with disabilities how to travel using rideshare apps.

A portion of Denver property taxes is dedicated to helping Denver residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. RMHS administers some of that tax money to community organizations that provide unique services and support to Denver’s I/DD community. Honeyman Services’ rideshare program is one of those organizations.

An additional 10 scholarships are available to residents in Douglas and Arapahoe counties for the June session through separate mill levy funds designated for use on transportation from Developmental Pathways, the community-centered board for that region.

Thanks to mill levy funding through RMHS and Developmental Pathways, Honeyman Services will offer training to people throughout the metro area. The goal is to teach 60 Denver residents and 10 Douglas and Arapahoe Counties residents to use rideshare, Dave said.

Dave’s program members currently use Uber through the day program business account, he said. Every time a member takes a ride, Dave gets an email that tells him where they are and that they made it to the destination safely. In January, they set a new company record of 237 Uber rides.

“It works great,” Dave said. “It saves time and it saves money.”

People wait for Uber to arrive

Rideshare Program Ambassadors Yesika Robles (front) and Derek McCormick stand on “Uber island” outside Honeyman Services while they wait for their rides.

Yesika is a program ambassador, along with member Derek McCormick. They will help others with intellectual disabilities and developmental take classes and learn to use Uber and Lyft this summer.

The ability to use these apps helped some of Yesika and Derek’s peers commute to work and stay out of bad weather. Sharing their knowledge can help others do the same. Instead of waiting for a bus in the snow, rain or hail, they can rideshare and wait indoors to be picked up.

Yesika said ridesharing is the best way to travel, and other members said its one of their top two travel choices. She is happy that she found Honeyman Services three years ago and can now travel independently and conveniently from home.

“I was looking to different programs,” Yesika said. “This one is my favorite.”

The new a Ride Share Education Program will teach everything from using the apps, to picking the right vehicles and understanding important safety measures. Students will spend two days in classes, and then they will go out with instructors and do test rides.

“We’re going to structure it like a driver’s education course,” Dave said.

Honeyman will offer three training sessions with 20 slots for Denver residents per class. The first session will serve south Denver in June, the second will serve central Denver in July and the third will serve north Denver in August.

Individuals who complete one of the three course sessions planned this summer will also receive $200 in credit for ridesharing afterwards.

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