Management & Operations

Meeting ADA maintenance challenges at transit facilities

Posted on August 1, 2003

With the signing of the American With Disabilities Act into law in July 1990, transit agencies went from providing transportation to being transportation providers. Beginning in August 1990, a percentage of new buses had to be wheelchair accessible. This presented new challenges for both maintenance and transportation departments. Transportation departments were challenged to designate routes that needed wheelchair-accessible buses and also had to ensure that these routes ran only wheelchair-accessible buses. For maintenance departments, the challenge was to maintain the buses with new features and to make certain they were available for the designated routes. Training was key issue The biggest obstacle for maintenance departments during this era was the lack of training. Since most agencies did not have a budgeted training department, mechanics were expected to maintain the new accessibility systems with very little knowledge of how the systems worked. The early model wheelchair lifts were powered by a combination of electricity and hydraulics. The hydraulic part of the lift ran with the power steering pump. This presented a problem during cold weather because the cold power-steering fluid would not operate the lift. These lifts were also chain driven, and if the chains became rusty or dirty, the lift would not operate. It suddenly became a nightmare to keep these lifts operating. At TARC, we dealt with this issue by creating a specialty job, where one mechanic on each shift worked only on wheelchair lifts. We now maintain a 95% to 100% availability rate for buses with wheelchair lifts. Several years before the signing of ADA, TARC began to order only wheelchair-accessible buses, no matter the size. With the introduction of low-floor buses in 1998, buses were ordered with ramps. Ramps have proven to be easier and cheaper to maintain because most are belt driven, and there are no hydraulics and only one electric motor. The key to keeping buses on the street with all systems operating properly is a good preventive maintenance program. At TARC, we have several preventive maintenance programs in place that work extremely well. These programs range from air conditioning and heat to wheelchair lifts/ramps and regularly scheduled inspections, and guarantee that we maintain the level of service our customers have grown accustomed to. Until next time!

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

More News

NorthEast Charter joins IMG network

The company joins IMG’s Cyr Bus Lines in serving the state of Maine and surrounding areas.

TriMet's GM McFarlane to retire

He led the expansion of TriMet’s light rail system, which has become a national model for integrating land use and transportation planning, policy and development.

Nashville mayor unveils $5.2 billion transportation plan

It includes 26 miles of Nashville’s first-ever light rail system, four rapid bus routes, a dramatic increase in the service and frequency of the bus system, and a strategy of service and infrastructure improvements.

RATP Dev North America adopts one brand

Rebranding of McDonald Transit and RDMT simplifies client interactions by immediately connecting clients to the parent company in North America.

MV Transportation names IT exec to CEO post

Kevin Jones joins MV from DXC Technology, a publicly traded IT services company, where he served as sr. VP and GM of the Americas region.

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