Equip - Fall 2016 - 6


The Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA) defines a "common wheelchair" as a three- or four-wheeled
device that is manually operated or
powered; usable indoors; designed
for and used by individuals with
mobility impairment; not exceeding
30 inches in width when measured
2 inches above the ground; not
exceeding 48 inches in length
when measured 2 inches above the
ground; and whose weight (including its occupant) does not exceed
600 pounds.
The question of combined
weight on a wheelchair lift is sometimes difficult. "There is a weight
limit on all lifts, and it includes the
weight of the mechanical device
the person is using," says Randal
Steelman, general manager of ABA
member Lone Star Coaches in
Grand Prairie, Texas.
"You need to be careful how you
ask weight questions," he adds.
"The best way I've found to ask is,
'Does the combined weight of you
and your device exceed X number
of pounds?' You'd be surprised how
often we have to ask."
According to Justin Riendeau,
training manager-dealer development for Winamac, Ind.-based
BraunAbility, a provider of mobility
products for buses, lift issues often
boil down to three factors:
Operator error: Many issues are
caused by the user hurrying, not
taking the proper precautions, or
attempting to operate the lift in a
situation it's not designed for.
Lack of maintenance: "Maintenance,
maintenance, maintenance! I can't
say those words enough! Your
dealer should set up a maintenance
program for you. Your lift should
have a shop checkup at least twice
a year," Riendeau advises.
Broken parts: These cause a small
percentage of wheelchair lift failures,
according to Riendeau, and can
usually be avoided if the lift is
regularly maintained.
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advance for such occurrences and
have a ready list of other operators
with lift-equipped buses within a
reasonable distance.
Operators may choose, however,
to do more than the ADA requires
and invest in equipment, such as
wheelchair restraints combined
with head and backrest systems that
help keep passengers with disabilities safer. "These products stabilize
the passenger in a rear-end collision,
reducing the chance for injury," says
Peter Haarhuis, CEO of AMF-Bruns
of America. His Hudson, Ohio-
based company offers safe, flexible,
innovative passenger transport
solutions for the paratransit industry.

separate count of the latter, drivers
must report lift use at the end of
each trip. Demand-responsive, i.e.,
charter or tour, and mixed-use OTRB
companies don't have to submit this
C. Annual Report of OTRB's Purchased/Leased and Overall Fleet
Data. "This report is also mandatory

Backrest and
head systems
lessen the
chance of injury
in a rear-end

The Need to Report

ADA reporting requirements are another area of confusion for operators. Formerly, the DOT required three
annual reports. The good news is that as of October 2016,
it will no longer require operators to submit annual ADArelated reports, according to FMCSA Deputy Director
Duane DeBruyne. "In the past, DOT collected ADA-related data from operators to assist with the required review
of certain ADA regulations," he says. "DOT has completed
its regulatory review, and the collection of ADA reports
is no longer necessary." However, these reports will still
need to be maintained in order to demonstrate ADA
compliance during FMCSA investigations or in response
to inquiries from the Department of Justice.
Reports covering the period from Oct. 1, 2015, to Sept.
30, 2016, are still due the last Monday of October. These
reports are:
A. Annual Summary Report of Individual Accessible/
Equivalent Service Requests. "This is mandatory for

all OTRB [over-the-road bus] operators, even those who
have had no such request," says Van Horn. "The report
summarizes how many individual requests [by a passenger or chartering party] for accessible or equivalent
service were made and how many of those requests
were successfully met. Since operators are required to
create and keep a form for each such request, this simply
requires adding up data from the forms. For large companies, we advise doing this on at least a monthly basis."
B. Fixed-Route OTRB Company Annual Lift Use
Summary. "This is mandatory only for small and large

companies providing fixed-route service and counts how
many passengers used the lift over the 12-month period,
whether or not they made an advance request for accessible service," Van Horn says. "Now that large fixed-route
operators must have 100 percent accessibility, passengers
may simply show up and ride. To ensure an accurate,

for all OTRB operators and counts
how many accessible and inaccessible OTRBs have been acquired during the year and how many of each
are in the fleet," says Van Horn. 
Operators are also required to keep Service Request Forms, records of each time a customer asked for
accessible or equivalent service. They need to give a copy
of the finished Service Request Form to the passenger
and keep a copy for themselves for at least five years.
What happens to operators who fail to meet ADA's
requirements? "For noncompliance with specific ADA
regulations, an operator potentially faces revocation of
its DOT operating authority," says DeBruyne. "While
FMCSA does not possess authority to levy civil penalties
for ADA noncompliance, suspected cases are referred to
the Department of Justice, which does have such authority and which may impose a civil penalty up to $75,000
for a first violation and a maximum of $150,000 for a
subsequent violation."

Do the Right Thing

Regardless of the dilemma the ADA creates for operators, the bottom line is that accessibility should be
integrated into a company's daily operations and cost of
doing business.
"For operators who fully comply in terms of staff
training, accessible equipment, maintenance, and
reservation/sales procedures, serving customers with
disabilities becomes a routine part of operations," says
Van Horn.
Adds Woelfel of Jefferson Lines, "From our perspective, understanding and implementing the complexities
of the law is the biggest challenge. As an operator, it's
easy to be more concerned with compliance measures
and the administrative aspects of the regulation rather
than just doing the right thing.
"The other biggest challenge is in the need to continually train and retrain all employees on the many
aspects of the law and in how to deal with situations that
come up," he adds. "Even without the ADA's regulations,
providing accessible vehicles and trained personnel is
the right thing to do for our passengers." ●
Maryellen Kennedy Duckett is a frequent contributor
to Equip.


Wheelchair Lift


http://www.braunability.com http://www.braunability.com

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
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