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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Gainesville residents with hearing disabilities will now have access to free information starting Thursday at a downtown bus station.

The information distribution comes after Regional Transit System announced a new partnership with American Sign Language last week.

As part of the partnership, ASL representatives will offer free DVDs and pamphlets to all deaf and hard of hearing residents every Thursday at the Rosa Parks Downtown Station, located at 700 SE 3rd St.

“We were thinking about a different way that we could help the deaf in the community,” said ASL spokesman Larry Clark. “A good idea would be to set up a little stand.”

RTS spokesman Chip Skinner said the partnership was the first of its kind between the ASL and a public company in the state.

He added that the company will begin training drivers in basic sign language this summer to communicate with deaf and hard of hearing residents.

“This is a unique partnership that will allow those with hearing problems to communicate more clearly with RTS personnel,” Skinner said in a statement, “while also giving our staff the opportunity to learn new skills and improve customer service with our hearing disadvantaged population.”

ASL will be at the station every Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to RTS.

Clark said the DVDs are acted in sign language with Bible-based messages that can apply to people with different beliefs and religions.

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