Equip - Fall 2016 - 4



Dos and Don'ts of Aiding Travelers
with Disabilities
ABA's pamphlet for drivers about how to best serve passengers with disabilities can
be downloaded at www.slcdocs.com/ada/resources/bus-operators-guide.pdf. Its recommendations include:

* Do provide rides to customers with

* Do give the same reservation services to


* Don't require customers with disabilities to


all, regardless of disabilities.

Do use person-first language (e.g., person
who uses a wheelchair instead of wheelchair user).

* Don't make assumptions about

* Do charge customers with disabilities the


* Don't deny service because a person's

customers' abilities.

same fare as those without disabilities.

Don't touch customers or their
wheelchairs without permission.

disability is annoying, inconvenient, or
offensive to the driver or passengers.

* Do offer assistance with boarding,
but not lifting, the rider.

* Don't assume an escort, medical person-

nel, or family member will provide boarding assistance.

A Good Example

Jefferson Lines' policies regarding passengers
with disabilities are a good example of the ADA in
action. As a large fixed-route operator, Jefferson
has an entire fleet of buses that are wheelchair-lift
equipped and permit the on-board use of any
mobility aid meeting the ADA's definition of a

"conforming mobility aid." (See "Common
Wheelchair Lift Issues," page 6.) In addition, its ticketing system identifies passengers
needing ADA accommodations during the
reservation process so that Jefferson can notify
its interline transportation partners and ensure a
seamless trip.
Under the ADA, operators may not charge
a different fare for passengers with disabilities,
and employee training on the law is required.
"There are still too many operators who've yet
to do any ADA-related training, a mandatory
requirement even for companies without accessible vehicles," reports Van Horn.
Open Doors initially created ADA classroom
training for bus companies at the request of
operators themselves. It's typically delivered
through state bus associations but is also available to individual operators. The comprehensive
course is divided into sections for operators/
managers, reservations/sales, and drivers. It covers all of the topics required by the Department
of Transportation (DOT), including a disabilityawareness module. ODO will soon offer these

Following the Americans with Disabilities Act
can be confusing and costly, but the bottom line
is offering equivalent service to all.


* Do immediately tell management if acces-

sibility equipment is missing or not working.

* Do allow service animals to accompany
their owners.

classes as e-learning at its ODO Academy,
making it easier and more affordable for small
operators to meet ADA training obligations.
Just meeting the letter of the law, however, is
not enough, cautions Van Horn. "ADA compliance is really just the minimum and in itself
doesn't guarantee success. Marketing and
customer outreach need to go hand-in-hand
with compliance. When one looks at bus company websites, all too often there's no mention
of ADA, accessibility, or services for customers
with disabilities."
She's concerned that the discussion always
focuses on wheelchairs and lifts. She recommends operators ask themselves: How well does
my company help people with vision or hearing
loss, intellectual disabilities, and medical issues?
Do we do a good job for older travelers who need
our patience and maybe a helping hand? Do we
have priority seating at the front of the coach? Do
we have information available in large print? Do
we know how to communicate with a deaf person
or guide a blind person? Do we know the questions to ask about service animals?

The Cost to Comply

The ADA requires operators to buy or lease
accessible vehicles when adding new vehicles
to their fleet, and there can be tension between
the cost to comply and the relatively infrequent
call for ADA services. "It is about $40,000 extra
to buy an ADA coach, and there's no way to
recoup the cost," says Randal Steelman, general
manager of Lone Star Coaches in Grand Prairie,
Texas. "When ordering equipment, we need
to make sure we keep enough ADA equipment
coaches in our fleet."


STABLE: Wheelchair restraints, such as
these by AMF-Bruns of America, are a
must for keeping travelers safe.

There are three main reasons to comply,
according to Laurel Van Horn, director of
programs for the Open Doors Organization
(ODO), a Chicago-based nonprofit that provides
bus operators and others with training on ADA
compliance. "One, it's the law. Two, it's good customer service. And, three, it's good business," she
says. "As transportation companies serving the
public, we can't pick and choose who we serve
based on race, religion, country of origin, or in
this case, disability. No one chooses to become
disabled. It's something that can happen to any
of us and typically will at some point in our lives,
even if only temporarily."

reserve a seat if those without disabilities
aren't required to do so.


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Equip - Fall 2016

Equip - Fall 2016 - Inside
Equip - Fall 2016 - 2
Equip - Fall 2016 - 3
Equip - Fall 2016 - 4
Equip - Fall 2016 - 5
Equip - Fall 2016 - 6
Equip - Fall 2016 - 7
Equip - Fall 2016 - 8
Equip - Fall 2016 - 9
Equip - Fall 2016 - 10
Equip - Fall 2016 - 11
Equip - Fall 2016 - 12
Equip - Fall 2016 - 13
Equip - Fall 2016 - 14
Equip - Fall 2016 - 15
Equip - Fall 2016 - 16
Equip - Fall 2016 - 17