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SECURES THE FUTURE OF TULSA TRANSIT


O F F I C I A L

BUSRide Field Test:

Q’Straint secures the future of accessibility at Tulsa Transit David Hubbard

E

meka Nnaka arrived in Tulsa, OK, in 2007 to attend Oral Roberts University and carve out his career goals, with early success playing semi-pro football pointing the way. His future was looking bright after an Oklahoma Thunder championship caught the attention of professional scouts. But during a game in 2008, his world turned dark in an instant when a fateful tackle left Nnaka permanently paralyzed from the chest down. “I immediately went from being completely independent and chasing my dreams to having to re-learn my life and being nearly totally dependent on other people,” he says. “Since that day, it has taken an incredible amount of strength just to get through the barrage of life-altering changes.” To help gain perspective on his situation, Nnaka immersed himself in the work of The Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges. It was there that he was able to meet, share and work with people who were adjusting to circumstances similar to his. While employed in rehabilitation services, Nnaka not only finished college, he enrolled in and is currently attending graduate school at the University of Oklahoma. Q’Straint and Tulsa Transit are thinking beyond safety Enter Q’Straint, the Ft. Lauderdale, FL, company that specializes in safe wheelchair securement and its customer, Tulsa Transit in Tulsa, OK. Tulsa Transit recently installed the new Q’Straint Quantum — the first fully-automatic rear-facing wheelchair securement station — on its low-floor transit fleet.

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“Quantum allows passengers with wheelchairs or scooters to maneuver themselves into position on transit buses and trains,” says Mitch Drouillard, southern regional sales manager for the transit and rail market segments for Q’Straint. “Basically, the passenger backs their wheelchair or scooter into the securement device and, with the push of a button, independently secures themselves in a stable and safe rear-facing position. The arm on the side lowers the grip to hug the wheel and secure the chair in place — all in less than 25 seconds and without requiring the driver’s assistance.” “The driver activates the system when he sees a wheelchair passenger about to board,” Drouillard adds. “When the passenger is secured, the driver must confirm from their seats to perform the Quantum’s final squeeze at which time the signals on the driver’s dashboard deactivate, indicating it is safe for the driver to proceed. When compared to driverassisted securement, which can take up to seven or eight minutes to complete, the time savings are astounding.” Tulsa Transit goes Quantum In the early development stages of two new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes, Tulsa Transit realized such an expedited service would also require faster boarding. They elected to include a more independent securement system in the upgrade; one that would sync with the time constraints BRT imposes while also supporting their mission of inclusion and safety. “We visited San Antonio to observe the BRT system in service by VIA Metropolitan Transit,” says Debbie Ruggles, Tulsa Transit assistant general manager. “We could see that passengers who use wheelchairs busride.com


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

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Nnaka said he’s impressed that Tulsa Transit is doing all it can to help passengers like him.

Training required While Quantum is a relatively simple system and easy to operate, Huertas says the training Q’Straint provides is essential for satisfactory, reliable service. Before Tulsa Transit put Quantum into service, Drouillard led the Q’Straint team in training the agency’s bus operators, supervisors and trainers on the operation of the system. Perez worked with the maintenance staff on preventative maintenance and troubleshooting. “Q’Straint technicians led four separate training sessions for us, and provided training manuals and all necessary documentation,” Ruggles says. “The company even went so far as to produce a video on the proper use of this product featuring our own equipment and personnel. In our mind, this went far above and beyond what was expected. The video has now become a resource for all our drivers and new hires.” A curbside issue leads to new opportunities Tulsa Transit says one particular issue, perhaps of the agency’s own doing, arose early in the test stage. It had to do with the standard location of Quantum on the curbside of the bus. “Only after Quantum was installed and in operation did we realize the backward-facing wheelchair position interfered somewhat with the level of visibility for the other passengers on the bus,” Ruggles says. “Not only that, we also were made aware of how the curbside location does not consider the feeling by passengers using wheelchairs that all eyes are on them.” Tulsa Transit expressed its wish to Q’Straint to relocate Quantum streetside on the bus. “This seemed like a simple solution to alleviate the feeling expressed by our wheelchair passengers riding curbside that they were sitting in a fish bowl,” Ruggles says. “Q’Straint told us that this switch would present some wiring challenges. Nonetheless, Q’Straint complied and switched the Quantum streetside, addressing the concerns of passengers who use wheelchairs.” “Q’Straint went the extra mile,” Ruggles says. “They resolved all our issues with a fabulous result.” Drouillard adds that this collaborative effort is truly in the best interest of passengers using wheelchairs. Told of the Quantum system being relocated street side, Nnaka had an interesting take. 4 4

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“I am glad to hear they switched the system to street side, behind the driver’s seat,” he says. “Actually, other passengers are more than likely looking past wheelchair riders to see their stops, but still it is very accommodating of Tulsa Transit to do all it can to help customers like me feel less conspicuous.” Looking ahead “With our drivers’ first priority being to keep the bus running safely and on time, the capability to load all passengers, including those with challenges, in the quickest and most efficient manner is very important,” Ruggles says. “Quantum has not only improved our ontime performance, but with Tulsa Transit working diligently to move people from paratransit to fixed-route service, we see this as a much higher level of service for passengers using wheelchairs.” For more information, please visit: www.thequantumleap.com.

L to R: Tulsa Transit’s General Manager Bill Cartwright with agency executives Liann Alfaro, Debbie Ruggles, Richard Young, Debbie Mulkey, Randy Cloud and Scott Bosen.

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REAR-FACING WHEELCHAIR SECUREMENT TECHNOLOGY REVIEW FINDINGS AND BENEFITS FEBRUARY 12, 2016

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REAR-FACING WHEELCHAIR SECUREMENT TECHNOLOGY REVIEW

A Look at Rear-facing Wheelchair Securement Rear-facing wheelchair passenger securement, already used on buses throughout Europe and Canada, could be on the verge of wider acceptance in the United States. That’s because bus rapid transit (BRT) — the modern transportation alternative being explored or implemented in many localities — needs a faster and easier securement system than the traditional 4-point tie-down that has been the U.S. standard for many years. BRT promises to speed daily commutes with higher capacity vehicles, restricted lanes and fewer stops. Rail-like features such as off-vehicle fare collection, platform-level boarding and multiple entry and exit doors can increase efficiency and keep dwell times to 1 or 2 minutes. But if a vehicle operator leaves the seat to perform a 4-point wheelchair securement, stop times can stretch to 4 minutes or more.

REAR-FACING

FORWARD-FACING

Rear-facing Securement Meets the Needs of BRT Rear-facing securement, as implemented in Europe and Canada, is intended to reduce or eliminate operator intervention — though it must be noted some approaches don’t achieve that goal. In the usual design, wheelchair passengers position themselves in a securement station where they face the rear of the bus and back their chair as close as possible against a padded backrest. As typically deployed, there are no belts or other chair restraints, though these can be provided. The backrest keeps the chair from rolling to the front of the vehicle, while wall-mounted handrails or retractable straps and aisle-side stanchions or foldable armrests are among the equipment provided to keep the chair within the station during normal vehicle maneuvers. The chair’s own brakes are expected to keep the chair from sliding within the securement area. In the U.S., the Americans with Disabilities Act already allows rear-facing wheelchair securement systems on buses over 22 feet long, provided these are in addition to a forward-facing 4-point system. But the law also specifies that both forward- and rearfacing securement systems must limit wheelchair movement to no more than 2 inches during normal operating conditions. This is a technical challenge — and, as we’ll see later, a safety challenge as well — in widespread use of rear-facing securement in U.S. BRT systems, but not an insurmountable obstacle.

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REAR-FACING WHEELCHAIR SECUREMENT TECHNOLOGY REVIEW

Real Benefits to Transit Systems and Passengers Alike In its 2003 publication Use of Rear-Facing Position for Common Wheelchairs on Transit Buses (TCRB Synthesis 50), a comprehensive review of research, engineering tests and on-the-road experience, the Federally-sponsored Transit Cooperative Research Program identified multiple benefits of rear-facing securement for both transit systems and wheelchair passengers.

Benefits for the transit system result primarily from there being less need for operators to leave their seat: • Shorter dwell time at stops – the rear-facing securement process can take less than a minute • Little or no involvement of bus operators • Less likelihood of operator injury • Fewer instances of operators being placed in awkward working positions • Reduced maintenance costs through less replacement of strap

Benefits for wheelchair passengers derive primarily from their needing less help from others: • Independent and dignified use of the transit system • Faster boarding and disembarking • Less delay caused to other passengers – and less resulting embarrassment for the wheelchair user • Reduced need for physical contact with other persons • No need for special attachment hardware on the chair to use the securement station • Less damage to the chair or scooter from the securement system

But one of the most important benefits of the rear-facing approach is passenger safety. With the back panel using the vehicle’s mass to absorb the forces of severe braking or a frontal collision, a properly secured rear-facing position is far safer than frontfacing. This is same reason that laws or guidelines around the world require infants and small children to ride in rear-facing car seats.

Rear-facing Securement Still Has Room for Improvement While transit system experience to-date confirms that rear-facing securement is fast enough to help keep buses on time, fullscale testing funded by the Transportation Research Board’s Transit IDEA Program dramatically demonstrated that proper implementation of such a system is key to passenger safety. After testing several types of manual wheelchair, power wheelchair and scooter in three rear-facing securement station configurations in six types of buses, here’s what researchers wrote in their 2005 report Assessment of Rear Facing Wheelchair Accommodation on Bus Rapid Transit: “During normal driving, the manual chair would rotate during turns, the three-wheel scooter would tip during the stronger turns, and the power wheelchair was stable under all normal conditions. During extreme maneuvers, all three types of wheelchairs could be made to tip over if provided with a backrest or wall on only one side (emphasis added). The wheelchair would tip over during extreme turns when rear facing and during a panic stop when side facing. The three-wheel scooter would tip during turns when rear facing and during a panic stop when side facing. The power wheelchair would tip over backwards during an extreme turn when side facing.” While the researchers concluded that rear-facing securement with a backrest and aisle-side armrest will prevent catastrophic motion for all types of wheelchairs under all driving conditions in which no collision is involved, they did note that “during normal driving conditions, users of manual wheelchairs and three-wheel scooters must expect some normal movement of their wheelchairs” (emphasis added). As for securing the rear-facing position to eliminate movement, neither the European grab bar approach nor Canada’s use of compartmentalization stanchions or flip down arms satisfy current U.S. ADA requirements. U.S. transit systems that have experimented with Canadian style rear-facing compartments have found that the wider ADA minimum clear space for wheelchairs (30 inches vs. 27) results in a loss of seating from having to place the securement stations on the same side of the aisle and near the center door. Adding a stanchion or flip down arm creates impassable obstacles for other passengers when two wheelchairs are present side-by-side. Or the stanchion becomes the first stop for ambulatory passengers, interfering with flow at subsequent stops. All of this is consistent with the TCRB’s findings that “one remaining issue is that there still is no ideal solution to prevent the mobility aid from tipping or moving into the aisle within the rear-facing system.”

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Q’STRAINT 5553 RAVENSWOOD RD., BLDG. 110 FT. LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA 33312 TOLL FREE: 1.800.987.9987 FAX: 954.986.0021 WWW.QSTRAINT.COM

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Tagline: Q’STRAINT REARWARD FACING. SURE-LOK 5553 RAVENSWOOD RD., BLDG. 110 2501 BAGLYOS CIRCLE FT. LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA 33312 BETHLEHEM, PA 18020-8027 FORWARD THINKING. TOLL FREE: 1.800.987.9987 TEL: 866 SURE-LOK (787-3565)

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FEATURES & BENEFITS

SPECIFICATIONS

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REGIONAL MANAGER

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QUANTUM ENABLES WHEELCHAIR AND SCOOTER PASSENGERS TO OFFICE: 954.986.6665 EXT. 215 a fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. TOLL FREE: 1.800.987.9987 FAX: 954.986.0021 SECURE THEMSELVES WITH THE SIMPLE PUSH OF A BUTTON

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OVERALL DIMENSIONS With Backrest: 28”W x 37”L x 56”H

2501 5553 RAVENSWOOD BLDG. 110 The entire securement process takes place in under 25 RD., seconds —BAGLYOS CIRCLE BETHLEHEM, PA 18020-8027 Without Backrest: FT. LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA 33312 TOLL FREE: 1.800.987.9987 TEL: 866 SURE-LOK (787-3565) CHAEL M. SCOTT WITHOUT REQUIRING DRIVER ASSISTANCE FAX: 954.986.0021 FAX: 866 TIE-DOWN (843-3696) ONAL MANAGER Q’STRAINT

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28”W x 35”L x 34”H

954.986.6665 EXT. 215 EE: 1.800.987.9987 .986.0021

INDEPENDENCE

NT VENSWOOD RD., BLDG. 110 ERDALE, FLORIDA 33312 EE: 1.800.987.9987 .986.0021 TRAINT.COM

SURE-LOK 2501 BAGLYOS CIRCLE BETHLEHEM, PA 18020-8027 TEL: 866 SURE-LOK (787-3565) FAX: 866 TIE-DOWN (843-3696) WWW.SURE-LOK.COM

QUANTUM offers mobility passengers the dignity and independence to secure

themselves. The CHAEL M. SCOTT

simple one-touch

ONAL MANAGER

@QSTRAINT.COM

954.986.6665 EXT. 215 EE: 1.800.987.9987 .986.0021

MAXIMUM WIDTH With Arms Deployed: With wheelchair and scooter securement MICHAEL M. SCOTT 37.15” (943.5mm) REGIONALremoves MANAGER in 25 seconds or less, QUANTUM

TIME SAVING

MSCOTT@QSTRAINT.COM

unknown variables and helps keep buses on

operation offers users a safe and secure

schedule. With QUANTUM, gets TOLLeveryone FREE: 1.800.987.9987

ride while keeping drivers in their seat and

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OFFICE: 954.986.6665 EXT. 215 FAX: 954.986.0021

focused on the road.

NT VENSWOOD RD., BLDG. 110 ERDALE, FLORIDA 33312 EE: 1.800.987.9987 .986.0021 TRAINT.COM

SURE-LOK 2501 BAGLYOS CIRCLE BETHLEHEM, PA 18020-8027 TEL: 866 SURE-LOK (787-3565) FAX: 866 TIE-DOWN (843-3696) WWW.SURE-LOK.COM

TRANSIT TOUGH MICHAEL SCOTT WithM.its stainless REGIONAL MANAGER

steel construction and

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durable over-mold grips, QUANTUM is

OFFICE: 954.986.6665 EXT. 215 TOLL FREE: 1.800.987.9987 ., BLDG. 110 FAX: 954.986.0021

DA 33312

STORED DIMENSIONS W: 27.35” (694.7mm) H: 30.92” (785.5mm) L: 34.04” (864.6mm)

REAR-FACING The preferred securement method worldwide, rear-facing securement is

COMPLIANCE The QUANTUM Securement System meets or exceeds all current regulations for rear-facing transit, European Directives and ADA/CSA requirements.

built to endure the wear of everyday transit

proven to be one of the safest solutions

use.

available.

DRIVER CONTROL

LOW MAINTENANCE

Drivers remain focused on the road

Through extensive field and lab testing we

because QUANTUM gives them

were able to develop a basic maintenance

the flexibility to manage wheelchair

schedule that ensures optimal performance

securement from dashboard controls.

with minimal hassle.

maintenance-icon

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TOTAL UNIT WEIGHT 90 lbs. (including mounting plate)

WEBSITE: www.thequantumleap.com PRODUCT PAGE: www.qstraint.com/quantum

BUSRIDE | E N H A N C I N G T H E A D A E X P E R I E N C E

The QUANTUM Backrests conform to the performance specifications of FMVSS 201 or ECE R 21, FMVSS 302 and ISO3794.

WARRANTY: 3 Year or 10,000 Cycles, whichever comes first

INTRODUCTION: https://youtu.be/fPqvEUntsh8 TRAINIING: https://youtu.be/G4a94j11kyk busride.com


REAR-FACING WHEELCHAIR SECUREMENT TECHNOLOGY REVIEW

The Ideal Solution Arrives More recently, researchers at the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center in the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology compared the usability, comfort, and independent use by wheelchair passengers of a prototype automated rear-facing wheelchair securement system against a 4-point tie-down system. Developed by Q’Straint together with the University of Pittsburgh, the prototype system featured a passenger-activated aisle-side arm attached to the backrest and a wall-mounted cushion plate, both of which moved laterally to secure the wheelchair in place. To disengage the system and exit the bus, the wheelchair passenger activates a wall-mounted switch. Participants responded positively to the automated rear-facing system, scoring it higher than the 4-point tie-down system on safety and security, stability during the ride and ease of use. Passengers found the automated system to be quicker, easier and more independent to use than the 4-point tie-down system. Quantum, Q’Straint’s refined and fully developed version of that automated rear-facing securement station, is now available to — and seeing adoption in — transit systems worldwide.

Conclusion In tests and real-world experience, rear-facing wheelchair securement has been proven to deliver benefits to transit systems and passengers alike, especially in enabling wheelchair users’ independent use of public transportation and in minimizing the delays, costs and risks of operator intervention. But prevailing rear-facing securement stations do not maximize passenger safety. Both in countries where rear-facing is already common practice and in the U.S. where this approach provides an attractive solution for emerging BRT, advanced automated rearfacing securement technology can help BRT cut commuting times while assuring wheelchair passengers of a safe ride.

Further Reading • Assessment of Rear Facing Wheelchair Accommodation on Bus Rapid Transit, Dr. Katharine Hunter-Zaworski and Dr. Joseph R. Zaworski, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR. Published by Transportation Research Board, Transit IDEA Program, 2005. • Use of Rear-Facing Position for Common Wheelchairs on Transit Buses: A Synthesis of Transit Practice; TCRP Synthesis 50; Transportation Research Board, Transit Cooperative Research Association; 2003. • User Evaluation of Three Wheelchair Securement Systems In Large Accessible Transit Vehicles; Linda van Roosmalen, PhD; Patricia Karg, MS; Douglas Hobson, PhD; Michael Turkovich, MS; Erik Porach, BS; Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wheelchair Transportation Safety, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; Published in Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development, Volume 48 Number 7, 2011.

5553 Ravenswood Road . Bldg. 110 . Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33312 Toll-Free: 1-800-987-9987 • Tel: 954-986-6665 • Fax: 954-986-0021 • www.qstraint.com 9

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MKM-06-1601

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MKM-06-1602 rev. 5.18.16

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WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THE QUANTUM SECUREMENT SYSTEM The whole process took under 25 seconds so I didn’t feel like

It felt good to be able to relax and enjoy the journey, knowing

I was holding up the bus. This bus could have driven a slalom

that I wasn’t going to move anywhere or tip over. I will

course and I would have remained exactly where I was. I felt

definitely use buses again if they are fitted with the Quantum

completely safe and secure.”

Securement System.

Helen Dolphin Disability Advocate & Journalist

Emma Muldoon Blogger & Muscular Dystrophy Trailblazers

One of our goals is ensuring the integration of people with

I found the Quantum wheelchair restraint system really

disabilities into society and transportation is a key enabler.

simple and effective to use. No unpredictable movements

No one enjoys being singled out when a driver must come

from the wheelchair unlike before. Once you are locked

back and secure a wheelchair because it always takes time.

in place it was like being connected to the bus rather than

People with disabilities just want to get on the bus and go.”

rocking and rolling around.”

Jim Franklin Advocate Action Committee of People with Disabilities

Richard Toulson Quantum User

With the Quantum I feel I have more security and that it is

I don’t only believe that Quantum is going to be a game

very stable – so I’m safe and everybody else is too.”

changer, it’s already a game-changer.

Sheryl Boyd Quantum User

Kevin Bunce Assistant Director of Maintenance, Sun Metro

LEARN MORE AT: THEQUANTUMLEAP.COM busride.com | BUSRIDE

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