Left to Right: Curtis Riggs, owner of VIA Adventures; John Pedrozo, Merced County Supervisor and Alternate to the YARTS Board; Dick Whittington, YARTS Transit Manager; and Hub Walsh, Merced County Supervisor, member of the YARTS Governing Board and incoming Chair of the YARTS Board
The Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS), a joint powers authority in Central California, is the first public agency in the country to purchase American Seating's Premier motorcoach seats.
Premier combines lap-shoulder belts with full compartmentalization, protecting both belted and unbelted passengers. YARTS received their first motorcoach with Premier seats in late April. The inclusion of seat belts on the transit system's motorcoaches was inspired by an email announcement from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) about the Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act 2009 (S554), which is focused on safer and stronger commercial motorcoaches.
MCI, who worked with YARTS on their vehicle acquisition, led them to American Seating's Premier seat since it offers the full passenger protection that YARTS was looking for, according to the company.
Premier's SafeGuard SmartFrame technology provides the highest level of protection for passengers by integrating a patented seat design encompassing two structures. The inner structure provides lap-shoulder belts and absorbs energy for the belted passenger, while the outer seatback structure remains upright to cushion anyone behind the seat who isn't wearing a seat belt. The agency will also place advisories on the backs of their new seats urging passengers to buckle up, and make announcements prior to departures.
YARTS' first motorcoach using Premier seats is scheduled to be in service this month. Funding for three additional buses was recently approved and YARTS is preparing those orders now.
The operation hopes to acquire five more in order to complete a fleet of motorcoaches with Premier seats in the next 18 to 24 months.