Wheelchair Accessible Shuttles: The Need of the Hour For Americans With Disabilities

 Guinness World Records holder for the longest continuous wheelie Robert M. Hensel remarked ‘’There is no greater disability in society, than the inability to see a person as more.” And while this may be an extravagantly philosophical way of starting an article on the need for wheelchair accessible shuttles, it certainly reflects the social sentiment in many developed countries, and perhaps possibly the United States as well, towards people with different abilities.

So let’s start. In this article, we will cover:

  1. What wheelchair accessible shuttles are
  2. What are the necessarily prerequisites to be considered to make every shuttle a wheelchair accessible shuttle, according to American with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  3. Why you need a wheelchair accessible shuttle for your business


Poll Question

Do you think wheelchair-accessible shuttles are adequately available in the United States?


What Are Wheelchair Accessible Shuttles, And Do We Really Need Them?

Also known as handicap-accessible buses, wheelchair accessible shuttles are customized buses that are designed to incorporate the needs of people with disabilities and are in compliance with the rules laid down by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A January 2022 revised estimation of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reveals that an approximate 25.5 million Americans are differently-abled in a manner that their traveling procedures are disturbed. Out of the percentage coverage of the list of medical devices used by such individuals, wheelchairs accounted for 11.6%. Combined with motorized scooters and motorized wheelchairs, they account for almost 20% i.e. every 1 in 5 differently-abled people who would potentially travel will have a wheelchair (primarily) or a similar space-consuming equipment with them.

Thus, based on both the factual evidence and the intrinsically moral faculties every human possesses, shuttles, be they minibuses or coach buses, like all other facets of public infrastructure, absolutely need to accommodate differently-abled individuals and evolve into wheelchair-accessible shuttles.

How Do I Ensure My Bus Is A Wheelchair Accessible Shuttle?

Check whether your shuttle is in compliance with the ADA guidelines. The list below provides a fair representation of what is expected of your shuttle in terms of compliance. Note that this is applicable to buses of all types and sizes, from minibuses to coach buses or 25-seaters or 50-seaters:

1. There are no exceptions

 Whether you are a public organization or a private one, it doesn’t matter. The ADA requires every fleet and shuttle to comply with its regulations. Private entities such as hotel shuttles, airport shuttles, private buses, among others are to be accessible to people with disabilities by default, or design, as some may put it. The ADA rules even span so far as to call for a separate, but completely equal, delivery of services via a different bus that has the necessary equipment to cater to people with disabilities, if the standard shuttle fails to provide it. Some of the characteristics mentioned to ensure this equality of opportunity are: that the schedules, hours and days of service, routes, response times, and fares be the same.

2. The equipment required

The availability of equipment and facilities is paramount. This includes secure ramps and lifts to safely onboard the individual concerned. Securement devices such as straps to hold the wheelchair in its place are next. Signages and information devices, should there arise a situation for them to be called into operation, must be properly maintained. An additional similar shuttle, for example a minibus for a minibus, or a coach bus for a coach bus, must be kept available

3. The permission for service animals

Defined by the DOT ADA regulations as any animal that has been individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability, service animals are to be allowed to assist the differently-abled person. The ADA even overrides the mandate of the local and the state government on this subject. License or certification from a local or state government is not needed

4. Miscellaneous compliances

A truistic statement, passengers must be allowed enough boarding and exiting time. The bus operators must be well-versed in implementing the conveniences that the ADA enforces, including having the know-how to operate the equipment but also covering the non-legal aspect such as being courteous to the passengers. The Act also necessitates the marking of, at the least, one set of forward-facing seats for the differently-abled passengers.

Why You Need A Wheelchair-Accessible Shuttle For Your Business

1. It’s the need of the hour

Smart enterprises around the world, regardless of industry or function, are focusing on delivering enhanced customer experiences to simultaneously achieve their own profitability goals. From a business point of view, the idea is to convert your shuttle bus or minibus fleet to deliver customer value, build your brand, and thus achieve your financial targets – all in one-go

2. Putting it simply

To put it simply, you have to. Wheelchair-accessible shuttles are mandated by law, and there’s no getting around that. Through ADA compliance, you have the grounds to now flourish your business concern with minimal negative state interference

If you’re looking for a place to get started on your own fleet of new or used buses, or want an expert voice to help you out in complying with all the ADA regulations plus other state-based laws, or just want to converse with someone who KNOWS buses, do not hesitate. Reach out to Nations Bus Sales at 800 523 3262 or drop us a line at sales@nationsbus.com. We’ll be most happy to receive you.

Meanwhile, you can check out the Nations Bus Sales inventory of new and used shuttle buses. Travel safe, and remember to make the world a better place for those who depend on you to make their travels safe and convenient!

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