The bus must have space for a wheelchair and there must be suitable safety provisions depending on whether the wheelchair is carried facing forwards or backwards.
Since 1st January 2016 it’s been a requirement that all full size single deck buses over 7.5 tonnes must be fully accessible; all double deckers from January 1st 2017. This is in order to meet Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) 2000, and means that the bus must have space for a wheelchair and there must be suitable safety provisions depending on whether the wheelchair is carried facing forwards or backwards.
For most buses across Europe, the safety provision is usually an anti-tipping pole for the wheelchair user to hold on to. This is obviously only of use if the wheelchair passenger is able to utilise their arms and has the strength to hold themselves, and their chair. Wheelchairs do have brakes, but these were not designed to hold both chair and passenger in place on a moving bus, therefore moving about during a journey is a constant headache for wheelchair passengers.
Another consideration for wheelchair passengers is the weight of their chair and how dangerous it may be to both them and other passengers if it is not suitably secured whilst the bus is moving. With electric chairs weighing in at 200kgs or more, there is a very substantial mass which could, potentially injure other passengers during a journey.
As showcased at recent Expo’s across Europe and due to be on display at the upcoming UITP in Montreal, Q’Straint has addressed this problem with the Quantum device; the transportation industry’s first Fully Automatic Wheelchair Securement Station. Designed to provide easy access for the wheelchair user, Quantum is operated by the passenger themselves, securing them in position with an automatic swing arm system by a single touch of a button. This revolutionary technology grips the wheelchair, securing against any slips, tips or rolls, removing the afore mentioned safety issues.
Users of Quantum have also quickly identified a couple of added bonuses. The first of which being the removal of travel sickness. Although Quantum is installed to give a rear-facing journey, the level of grip offered, meant that any feelings of travel sickness were avoided. The second added bonus buses with Quantum benefit from is that it so clearly marks the wheelchair space out as for wheelchair users that it would be much more difficult for parents with pushchairs to refuse to move. This would help design out the conflict that can be a real issue for wheelchair users.
Jim Franklin, Advocate Action Committee of People with Disabilities, has tried out the system and quotes Quantum as a key enabler, claiming, “People with disabilities just want to get on the bus and go, with Quantum that is possible”.