May 30, 2012

D.C. Metro unveils new MV-1 vehicles for paratransit service

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) officials unveiled  the first of 16 new MV-1 vehicles being piloted for its paratransit service, MetroAccess. The MV-1 — or Mobility Vehicle 1 — is the first and only vehicle designed from the ground up for wheelchair accessibility.

“We are always looking for ways to improve MetroAccess service for the customers who depend on us,” said Assistant GM of Access Services, Christian T. Kent. “We are excited to pilot the MV1 because we believe it will give us a more versatile option for providing trips, while maintaining a fully accessible paratransit fleet.”

Specifically designed for paratransit service providers, the MV1 requires no conversion or after-market equipment. The current MetroAccess fleet is comprised primarily of conversion vans that have been modified with additional headroom, lifts and equipment for use in the provision of paratransit service.

Along with advanced safety features, a smoother, quieter ride, and a design that maximizes space and convenience, MetroAccess customers will benefit from shorter boarding times as a result of the MV-1 ramp design, which allows customers to board without the use of a lift. The vehicles cost about $50,000 each.

Built in Mishawaka, Ind., by manufacturer VPG, the MV-1 features:

  • Smaller size for improved maneuverability in congested areas.
  • Comfortable seating for up to four customers.
  • A wide doorway (36 inches by 56 inches) allowing for easy entry for all passengers.
  • Improved fuel economy as compared with conversion vans.
  • An integrated shallow-angle ramp with anti-slip surface.
  • Improved reliability due to use of ramp versus conventional lift.

MetroAccess will begin using MV-1 vehicles in revenue service beginning next month. The vehicles will be dispatched based on operational needs throughout the region.

MetroAccess customers will be asked to provide feedback on the new vehicles over the coming months.


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