Monday, October 30, 2006

Wheelchairs and BRT

According to Jim Cunradi, Bus Rapid Transit Project Manager
for AC Transit, riding on BRT in a wheelchair would be similar
to the experience that it is today.

There would be less side-to-side motion and the overall ride
would be more comfortable. Securing wheelchairs inside the
bus would be the same as it is today.

The experience of boarding the bus would be much improved.
A BRT station is, with few exceptions, situated in the middle
of the street adjacent to the bus lanes. Unlike a conventional
bus which has to pull into the curb, the BRT bus pulls
straight into the station, very close to the boarding platform.
This means that the gap between the bus and the platform can
be much less than the gap that can be achieved by pulling into
conventional bus stops. The platform would be as level with
the bus as possible - 10.5 inches without precision docking
and 13 inches with precision docking.

In the first case, the wheelchair ramp would still need to be
deployed but the angle of the ramp would be less than when
it is deployed onto the sidewalk. If precision docking becomes
a reality, there would be no need to deploy the ramp for a wheelchair.

Precision docking uses technology, either mechanical or electronic,
to guide the bus to the platform. Tolerances of less than one inch
are easily achievable.


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