would need a self-securement device that somehow did not involve the driver. We also recognized the way in which traditional securement systems can impede on a wheelchair passenger’s sense of personal space by requiring the driver to intercede, which can often create awkwardness and discomfort for both the passenger and the driver.” The subsequent search for alternatives led Tulsa Transit directly to Q’Straint. “Actually, we discovered Quantum online,” Ruggles says. “We knew these features would work perfectly for our system, so we contacted Q’Straint.” After a series of phone calls and a lengthy visit at an industry trade show, Tulsa Transit requested a formal Quantum product presentation from Q’Straint. “The Tulsa Transit management team was convinced that the features and benefits of Quantum would have a positive impact on its ridership,” Drouillard says. “To get started, Q’Straint installed the Quantum system on a test bus at Tulsa Transit, which only took one day,” adds Willie Perez, product service and R&D technician at Q’Straint. “We then conducted our own road test on the Quantum system to be sure it functioned as designed and was installed correctly.” Quantum onboard Once Quantum was in operation, Tulsa Transit invited Emeka Nnaka to test the new automatic self-securement technology and offer his thoughts. “What I first noticed was simply the thrill of boarding the bus, whipping my chair around into position, pushing the button and getting secured all by myself,” he says. “It felt great to not have to wait for the driver. I felt like I gained back a piece of my independence. As someone living with a disability, I can say this may not seem important from the outside, but always being at the mercy of someone else, regaining even a small sense of independence is huge on the inside.” Nnaka says the squeezing mechanism felt more stable than straps hooked to his wheelchair. “If one strap is looser than the other, or if the straps aren’t as tight as they could be, the passenger gets shaken around for the entire ride,” he says. “With this system, I didn’t shake and rattle as much.” Following the test period, and finding Quantum to perform to everyone’s satisfaction, Tulsa Transit opted to move ahead and have the product installed on two new buses that arrived in January 2016. “We have since outfitted eight additional buses with Quantum, and
Emeka Nnaka helped Tulsa Transit test the Quantum device during its pilot program.
feel completely comfortable that this is the way to go,” Ruggles says. “As we have just ended our five-year bus contract, we will include this equipment specification onto our new bus proposal when we go back out for bid.” The agency says it also will retrofit Quantum to replace current securement devices not immediately due for replacement. Furthermore, it is preparing an RFP process to purchase selfsecurement systems for all its buses. “We began with something we felt would be more applicable to our BRT system,” Ruggles says. “Now we are realizing how Quantum is going to solve issues for all of our transit customers on all of our routes.” Proof of this came in customer feedback from survey cards placed in the “pilot” buses for riders who tested this equipment. According to Tulsa Transit, with Quantum onboard, 100 percent of respondents participating in the trial survey found the staging time and boarding process much faster. Additionally, 92 percent said they felt safer and more secure using Quantum while the bus was in motion. While some passengers were concerned about riding backwards, 83 percent said that they would like to see Quantum in more buses, Ruggles says — including some of the riders who were new to the rear-facing wheelchair position. Q’Straint says it designed this product with respect to ADA safety requirements, with the goal to perform at safer levels than most traditional securement systems. “To this point, rear-facing wheelchair positions have been determined to be the safest,” says Q’Straint Marketing Manager Maria Huertas. “And of course, above all else, safety is what we want for our customers.”
With the push of a button. Quantum’s arms gently secure the rider in place, offering unprecedented independence for mobility passengers. busride.com | BUSRIDE AUGUST / SEPTEMBER . 2016 | BUSRIDE