Accessibility

Long Island adds sedans to paratransit fleet

Posted on September 29, 2009

[IMAGE]Crown.jpg[/IMAGE]To help cut costs, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) Long Island Bus (LI Bus) plans on replacing half of its Able-Ride paratransit fleet wheelchair-lift-equipped buses with sedans.

"Prior to scheduling software, many companies were worried they would send the wrong vehicle, especially to those customers that are wheelchair users or needed a lift," explains Tom Charles, vice president, MTA's paratransit division, about the switch. "Now, scheduling software has improved, so you are pretty much assured of how to get the right vehicle to the right population."

Charles adds that LI Bus believes the switch to sedans - at this point the Ford Crown Victoria - are possible since a higher percentage of its customer base are ambulatory and, therefore, have no need for the lift-equipped vehicles. He says, in actuality, about 25 percent of Able-Ride's customers need the larger lift-equipped buses.

The switch could possibly save the LI Bus millions of dollars, with the cost of a Crown Victoria coming in at approximately $22,000 compared to about $100,000 for a paratransit bus. Through a combination of growth and replacement, Charles says that LI Bus hopes to have a 50-50 mix of sedans and buses in its 93 vehicle fleet by 2013.

The agency chose the Crown Victoria for its space and legroom, which enables Able-Ride to potentially transport three customers in back and one in the front. One problem, however, is that Ford will potentially cease production of the vehicles, which are also frequently used by police department and taxi companies, after 2010.

Charles says that the agency is already looking at alternatives.

"We're looking at another vehicle that is coming to market," he says. "It is what's called a purpose built accessible vehicle and, instead of a lift, it has a ramp and two wheelchair positions."

The vehicle manufacturers have identified three markets: paratransit, taxi and personal use, Charles explains, and will offer CNG as an alternative fuel source, enabling LI Bus and MTA to make their fleets greener. Vehicle production is set to begin in spring 2010. 

To this point, feedback from Able-Ride's ridership, which serves Nassau and Suffolk counties as well as the outskirts of Queens, has been positive.

"Since we first introduced them, usually what's been happening is our customers ask for the sedans," Charles says. "Unfortunately, we can't do that and they have to accept the vehicle we send them, but they do prefer the sedan ride."

LI Bus plans to survey its riders to continually monitor their feelings on the sedans, and the system itself, in the future. It will also continue searching for another vehicle that will suit the service well and provide a better "greening opportunity."

 

 

 

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Denver RTD to enhance wheelchair securement area, access on LRVs

As a part of this effort, RTD will be altering the seating design of current and new light rail vehicles. The retrofit includes removing a set of seats next to the current wheelchair areas, which will open up the designated area for easier access.

KCATA set to launch new ridehailing service May 1

The one-year RideKC Freedom On-Demand pilot enables customers to call on taxis any day, at any hour, to enjoy everything Kansas City has to offer.

Autonomous shuttle to use 'cool tech' to serve people with disabilities

Future capabilities may include directing direct visually impaired passengers to empty seats or training the vehicle to recognize sign language.

ARBOC delivers milestone Spirit of Liberty to DART

The 2,500th bus manufactured by the company is part of a 123 bus contract that was awarded in February of this year.

Rising cost of Minn. paratransit could threaten other transit services

The Metropolitan Council, which operates the service, expects the number of rides will climb to 2.9 million by 2020, about double what it was in 2010.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close