You can modify a commercial bus or buy a wheelchair bus to suit the travels – and travails – of the physically challenged. Ramps and guard rails are good starting points.

It is a challenge for the disabled to navigate spaces inside and outside their homes, especially when they travel.

As per Census estimates in 2010, 1 in 5 Americans suffers from some form of physical disability . This disability could result in partial/near total/complete immobility. For the most part, many disabled Americans enjoy some mobility using wheelchairs. Those with partial mobility are able to navigate their way through public spaces with the help of ramps and wall rails.

Even as society acknowledges the widespread challenges that the physically disabled experience in daily life, the Government has ratified the demands of the disabled to make physical spaces and transport routes more friendly for them. The US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issued a new call to action for transport providers and all public transportation service providers via a new regulation at 49 CFR § 37.43(a)(1) under Sec. 37.43(a) in May 2016. In essence, the regulation calls for service providers to modify facilities like bus stops, create space inside public transport buses for disabled users with wheelchairs, and make suitable modifications to all transport facilities so that the disabled may easily access the facility.

The clamour for action for a more disabled-friendly society providing specially designed public and private facilities for the disabled has been loud and long over the years, especially from disabled activists groups. In response, it is now common to see disabled-friendly infrastructure in both public and private spaces. These include installing entrance ramps at most buildings, special elevators for the disabled, special handicapped stalls in restrooms, rails and stairs with mobile seats, etc.

Meanwhile, the Federal Transit Administration had previously adopted the New Accessibility Standards (from November 2006) with the Americans with Disabilities Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) to promulgate ADA requirements in ensuring accessibility in buildings, transport terminals and vehicles. Each US State also gets an annual grant for buying wheelchair accessible vans.

Buying wheelchair buses for sale

As the owner of a commercial fleet of buses, you have the option to either modify your current lot of buses to incorporate disabled-friendly design and facilities, or you can buy wheelchair buses for sale. This is the sort of inclusivity that the society at large needs to get on board with (as evidenced by the landmark UK ruling in the Doug Poulley case in 2012 ) and which will also benefit your business in the long run.

The disabled need to travel often, whether for work, social purposes or doctor’s visits. You can incorporate simple measures in your buses or buy a wheelchair bus that accommodates

  • Ramps
  • Additional wide seating
  • Storage space for wheelchairs and walking canes
  • Space to seat a seeing eye dog
  • Folding beds at the back of the bus for overnight journey

Do get a specialist designer to modify your existing buses, or approach a leading company to buy a wheelchair bus for the physically handicapped. Please check how much disability grant your State gives for.

Alongside, it is important to sensitise the bus drivers to help and accommodate users on the wheelchair buses. Parking at a little distance away from the stop for the wheelchair user to go up the ramp, safely ensconcing them in their seat and buckling them up prior to travel, and helping them alight safely are some measures drivers must be personally responsible for.