Port Huron, Mich.’s Blue Water Area Transit is the first transit agency in Michigan to use the fully-automatic Quantum wheelchair securement system. With the new system, passengers quickly secure their wheelchairs or other mobility devices, such as scooters or Amigos, in a safe position after boarding a bus. Bus drivers no longer need to assist with the process, which will now take less than 25 seconds.
Quantum is designed to ensure new levels of rider independence, safety, and dignity. Wheelchair-using passengers simply push a button to engage the system’s automatic locking sequence. Quantum’s arms move into position and secure the passenger’s mobility device by gripping its wheels. The system continues to adjust its grip as needed during the bus ride.
“It is exciting that our local transit company is committed to two things: first, maximizing individual choice by using state of the art equipment and also raising public awareness by promoting this new resource,” said Jim Whalen, executive director, Blue Water Center for Independent Living (BWCIL). “It is important that access be enhanced and that knowledge about it spreads.”
BWCIL is a consumer driven organization that advocates, informs and supports all people with disabilities to live independently. The organization serves consumers in five counties.
“This new system helps us keep our buses on schedule, since drivers no longer need to leave their seats to help riders secure their wheelchairs,” explained Jim Wilson, BWAT GM. “When drivers no longer need to disrupt the boarding process, all of our passengers enjoy an improved travel experience.”
Wheelchair passengers are no longer singled out by a driver coming back to secure a wheelchair. The process has often frustrated riders, because it always takes time. People with disabilities are now able to get on the bus and go, just like all the other passengers.
Quantum gives bus drivers the flexibility to manage wheelchair securement from dashboard controls at the driver’s seat. If a passenger is unable to press the button, drivers can easily activate Quantum to secure a wheelchair or deactivate the system to allow a passenger to exit.
Wheelchair-using passengers are secured in a rear-facing position, which provides enhanced head and neck protection. This is the preferred method worldwide and is now being widely adopted in North America.