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Aira App Pilot Program

 

An app called Aira allows users who are blind or low vision to receive free, one-on-one assistance riding the bus and navigating the more than 5,000 bus stops in Milwaukee County.

 

The Basics:

Through the Aira app, highly trained professionals access a customer’s smartphone camera and use the real-time view to offer verbal step-by-step travel directions, read signage, identify obstacles, and much more. Aira representatives also use the device’s GPS signal to pinpoint exactly where the customer is on a map – making it even easier to give accurate guidance.

Aira users are normally charged a fee. But thanks to this pilot program, which is scheduled to run through 2020, the service is free for anyone navigating between MCTS bus stops, buses and their destinations.

We encourage you to give Aira a try!

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

  • How much does it cost to use Aira?
    • Thanks to our pilot program, Aira is provided at no cost to anyone using MCTS (navigating to or from a bus stop, locating temporary bus stops, accessing real-time info, paying fare, finding a seat on board your bus, etc.)
  • Where else can I use Aira for free?
    • Besides MCTS, Aira is also available for free at 45 other locations across Milwaukee County -- including Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, the Milwaukee County Courthouse, the Marcia P. Coggs Human Services Center, the Vel R. Phillips Youth and Family Justice Center, the Milwaukee County Zoo, and dozens of Milwaukee County Parks.
  • Can I use the MCTS Access Offer on MCTS routes that go into Waukesha County?
    • Yes, you can use Aira anywhere that MCTS buses go.
  • How do I activate the free MCTS Access Offer?
    • Once you've downloaded the Aira app and created an account, you must:
      • 1. Click "Apply a Free Access Offer"
      • 2. Click "Discover Access Offers"
      • 3. Click "Products"
      • 4. Select "Milwaukee County Transit System" from the available products
      • 5. Click "Apply Offer"
      • 6. Click "Call Aira for Free" -- and you're ready to go!
  • Can I activate the free MCTS Access Offer verbally?
    • Yes, simply call an Aira agent and ask to use the "Milwaukee County Transit System Access Offer"
  • Can I save the MCTS Access Offer on the Aira app's home screen?
    • No, once you close out of the app, you will need to re-access the offer the next time you use it
  • Can Aira help me cross the street?
    • Click here to read Aira's current streetcrossing policy
  • Where can I get a lanyard that can hold my phone so I can travel 'hands free'?
    • Attend a training session or purchase a lanyard on Amazon for $8-10
  • Are there any other ways to use Aira 'hands free'?
    • Yes, Aira users can choose to purchase optional glasses. These glasses feature a camera and allow users to connect to Aira agents without having to hold up their smartphone. Click here to learn more about the glasses.
  • What is the technical support phone number?
    • 1-800-835-1934
  • Are there Spanish-speaking Aira agents?
    • Unfortunately, at this time, there are not enough Spanish-speaking agents to guarantee you'll be able to speak with one
  • Do I have to use a smartphone to access Aira?
    • Yes, you must have an iPhone or Android smartphone to use Aira
  • Does Aira use my smartphone's data?
    • Yes, you either need to be connected to WiFi or a cellular signal. Note that the Aira app will also use a significnt amount of battery power, especially if it is cold outside.

 

User Testimonials:

 

“The Aira service is wonderful and I will definitely be using it for transit and other daily tasks.” –James Golata

“After leaving the bus, I had to walk for about eight minutes to reach my destination. The Aira agent informed me of the streets I was approaching, their names, and whether they were light controlled. She helped me look for crosswalk buttons, crosswalk indicators, and let me know when the signs indicated it was safe to cross. She got me to the door of the church and stayed with me until I got inside and arrived at the elevator.” –April Havey

"Aira is a life-changing technology.  With this new partnership between MCTS and Aira, I now have the ability to connect to a live agent, get assistance and directions to the bus stop, get on the right bus, make sure the seat I’m about to sit in is empty, make sure I get off at the right stop, and then get assistance and directions to my final destination." –Cory Ballard

"Downtown Milwaukee is extraordinarily accessible, the buses are always on time and take you where you need to go, bus drivers are extremely friendly. And now, the addition of Aira is another step towards independence and independent mobility for blind or visually impaired people." –Israel Cazares

“I would have never attempted this trip on my own. I had to navigate through a parking lot and walk along the side of the road before the sidewalk picked back up. I felt completely confident with the Aira agent on one side and my guide dog on the other!” –April Havey

“There were many buses that pulled up as we were waiting and the Aira agent was able to let me know which was my bus without me having to walk up to the bus, over and over, verifying the bus number.” –Lea Williams

 

Media Coverage & Online Reaction:

 

 

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