This Limited English Proficiency Plan has been prepared to address Metro Bus’s responsibilities as a recipient of federal financial assistance as they relate to the needs of individuals with limited English language skills. The plan has been prepared in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d, et seq, and its implementing regulations, which state that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin.
Executive Order 13166, titled Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency, indicates that differing treatment based upon a person’s inability to speak, read, write or understand English is a type of national origin discrimination. It directs each federal agency to publish guidance for its respective recipients clarifying their obligation to ensure that such discrimination does not take place. This order applies to all state and local agencies which receive federal funds, including the St. Cloud Metropolitan Transit Commission which receives federal assistance through the U.S. Department of Transportation [U.S. DOT].
LEP persons include those individuals whose primary language is not English and who have a limited ability to read, write, speak or understand English and have reported to the U.S. Census that they do not speak English well or do not speak English at all. A link to the Metro Bus LEP Plan is included on the Metro Bus website.
Metro Bus has developed this Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Plan to help identify reasonable steps for providing language assistance to persons with limited English proficiency (LEP) who wish to access public transportation services provided by the transit authority.
The following actions have been taken by Metro Bus to identify and assist LEP individuals to utilize its public transportation services:
- Distribution of Information
Bus schedules, website information and fliers are distributed at ESL schools, Somali Day care centers, health and human service agencies, health care providers, and posted onboard buses. These materials contain contact information to Metro Bus Community Outreach Staff and the dedicated Somali voicemail line.
- Travel Guides
Bilingual employees who speak both English and Somali are employed by Metro Bus as Travel Guides. Travel Guides are assigned as part of a community outreach program to provide assistance to LEP individuals to utilize Metro Bus public transportation services.
- Dedicated Voicemail
A dedicated voicemail line has been established for use by Somali-speaking individuals requesting travel information. The individual leaves a message in their native language. A Metro Bus Travel Guide will respond to the individual within forty-eight (48) hours to answer questions and/or schedule a travel training session.
- Resource Tables
Resource tables are scheduled and maintained throughout the community at organizations, agencies and special events which target an LEP audience to provide information regarding Metro Bus services to individuals and groups.
- Agency Website
An agency website is maintained by Metro Bus with key information including schedules, route maps, and How to Ride the Bus videos filmed onboard a Metro Bus route. These videos are presented in English, Somali and Spanish and provide visual demonstration on how to board the bus, pay the fare, pull the chord and exit the bus. LEP individuals may watch the video with a Travel Guide as part of the travel training process.
- Training Opportunities
- Classroom and Onboard Training – Metro Bus provides classroom or onboard training opportunities to the general public including English and non-English speaking individuals.
- Travel Training – Travel training is provided free to those individuals who need assistance in learning how to ride the fixed route bus, read schedules and navigate the system. Travel training is provided to English and non-English speaking individuals. Translation services are also provided. Travel Training is provided through use of a You Can Ride training guide. Metro Bus staff will ride with the individual from pick-up to destination and demonstrate how to ride Metro Bus public transportation service.
- Communication Tools
- Census Bureau Language Identification Flashcards – these flashcards are used at the Transit Center. Individuals self-identifying as persons not proficient in English may not be able to be accommodated with immediate translation assistance. However, this system assists Metro Bus staff to identify language assistance needs.
- Destination Cards – passengers are provided destination cards to use on future rides if they have trouble identifying their travel destination.
- Picture Books – Metro Bus Picture Books are available and provided to individuals unable to speak English who do not have a companion rider to assist with translation. The picture book includes pictures of Metro Bus facilities and buses and the most common destinations within the Metro Bus service area. This book is used by the individual to communicate with either dispatch or operator staff. All Metro Bus operators and dispatch staff have access to the picture book for use as needed.
- Route Maps – The Metro Bus System Map is a universal language. Metro Bus sells maps and has the map on its website www.ridemetrobus.com.
- Translated Materials
- Google Translate is available on the website to translate schedules into languages other than English.
- All bus schedules include the following message translated in Somali:
Need help learning how to ride the bus? Call Metro Bus: 320-528-6895.
- Metro Bus Code of Conduct is posted in English on all Fixed Route and Dial-a-Ride buses and includes pictures to depict expected behavior. The poster includes language in Spanish and Somali indicating the information will be translated upon request. Brochures of the Code of Conduct in Somali and Spanish are also available on all buses.
- Translation Services
- Metro Bus utilizes translation services through Bridges and Language Line. Interpretive services are provided in all languages as needed.
- When available, family members and other service providers may also be called upon to interpret.