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What is a Transport? Interview with Bill Lane

Updated Jan 2021, added additional related blogs and links to the history of interventions, assisted transports., & ARISE Interventions.  

I always learn and laugh when I speak to Bill Lane.  Over a year ago, he told me that only one referring professional had ever asked him for his insurance information.  I was not that professional. This comment got me thinking and learning and I wrote a blog about the top 10 questions to ask a transport company.  There are many misunderstandings of what a transport is and what transporters should and should not be expected to do.  Last week, I interviewed an Admissions professional about what an assisted enrollment or transport is. There is a lot of fear around this step and one major goal of a transport company and its agents is to defuse the stress and anxiety that is a regular result of this complex experience.


I have always told parents that having their child transported is like dropping them off at daycare — horrible for 5 – 10 min and once the teen has left the house, the teen is fine.  Have you found this to be the case for the majority of transports that your company has done since 1992?  

You’re correct.  We do find this in the majority of transports that our company has done.  Students sometimes react and it’s usually verbal and always directed at the parents.  We discuss this with the parents the night before (in person where possible) and let them know that immediately after the introduction to their son/daughter for them to leave the room.  We’re in and out of the house in 15 -20 minutes, and once we are in the car and on the way to the airport, we usually have everything defused.     


What percentage of the time are they like this?  

99% of the time.


The stereotype of transports is two huge guys come into a home & grab your child & take them to a program via plane or car.  What really happens?

Two very clean cut, average-sized men or women arrive at the home, dressed business casual.  Once introduced to the student, they explain what’s going on, get the student dressed, and depart for the airport.


How do you help the parents relax for the transport?  What do your agents do?  

I always have a long conversation with them on the phone, answering all questions and reassuring them that their son/daughter is going to be in good hands and treated with all due respect… no matter how they act.  The agents, whenever possible, meet with just the parents the night before to go over a plan for the following morning and to give the parents a chance to meet them, which always puts their minds at ease.


Do you do anything differently for a teenage girl transport?  

There is always a female agent attached to the transport along with another female or male.


Do you work with other professionals like interventionists, like the interventionists who we see on TV?  How does that work differently than showing up in a home at whatever hour of the morning?

Yes, we work with all professionals.  Interventionists generally do the intervention and then call on us to do the transport portion of the intervention.  We’ve done it both ways…. early in the morning and during the day.  

We like working with the interventionists.


How do you hire for this position?  What are you looking for?  Who does not make the cut?

We look for clean cut, quality men and women who preferably come from the therapeutic boarding school industry, wilderness program, active or semi retired law enforcement.  All hired employees have completed thorough (federal) background checks.


Is there anything that you want to tell the readers of this blog that has not been covered?

The key to what we do is really take the fear and the mystery out of the transport experience for both the student and the parent. We want the student to realize that this is not punitive, but a great opportunity.


One of the reasons I wanted to interview you is you have been doing this work for many years & been involved in the industry for a long time.  When did you start?

I started in 1962 with Synanon in Santa Monica, California, which was one of the first drug rehabs in the country.


Can you pinpoint one or a few of the largest changes in the Teen & Young Adult Transport world?

I feel very privileged to have been at the front end of the drug rehab industry with Synanon, and then later with CEDU Schools, which was one of the first therapeutic boarding schools.  Some of the changes I’ve seen occurring in the therapeutic field are that there are a lot more choices for both young adults and adolescents to seek help.  Also, we seem to be working with younger clients and utilizing medication in addition to better clinical help, academics, etc.  Growing out of this was the evolution of the interventionist.  The transport industry was developed out of a need after observing adolescents entering programs unprepared.


Note to the reader, please read more about transports, interventions, and different types of interventions, like the ARISE model or an assisted intervention.  Not every treatment program accepts students from a ‘Teen Transport.

About the Author
Bill Lane is the founder of Bill Lane and Associates based in San Diego, CA.  Since 1992, Bill has been helping families begin treatment respectfully, transporting and managing a transport company, working collaboratively with consultants and interventionists since 1992.  He has been working in the private pay behavioral health and substance abuse industries since 1962.  He is one of the founding members of which is promoting standards with teen transport.  Bill Lane has more experience and knowledge than can be captured in one paragraph.