Security and Safety

Passenger Seating Options Maximize Safety and Convenience

Posted on April 13, 2017 by Nancy Kirk, Assistant Editor

4ONE’s Aries Stainless Steel Seat is typically used in heavy-duty buses and the rail industry.
4ONE’s Aries Stainless Steel Seat is typically used in heavy-duty buses and the rail industry.
As an integral part of the transit experience, it’s important to invest in quality passenger seating to ensure comfort and safety for both those operating vehicles as well as those riding them. A major shift in the passenger seating industry has been the newly enacted regulation that requires three-point seat belts in certain vehicle classifications, which was implemented last November. Other changes include the increased prevalence of onboard charging capabilities for mobile devices and layouts that more easily accommodate persons with disabilities.

4ONE offers split flip and slim flip seating to improve floor space and people flow without sacrificing seating capacity.
4ONE offers split flip and slim flip seating to improve floor space and people flow without sacrificing seating capacity.
4ONE: 4ONE’s Aries Stainless Steel Seat is known for its comfort and ultra-thin profile, which allows transit properties to optimize capacity without sacrificing hip-to-knee comfort for passengers. It is typically used in heavy-duty buses for mass and public transit, but can also be used in the rail industry. Because transit managers are challenged with the need to provide improved accommodations for mobility devices, strollers, and shopping carts without impacting vehicle idle time, 4ONE offers a number of innovative options to address these challenges. These include split flip
and slim flip seating that offer improved floor space and people flow without
sacrificing seating capacity. The seat is available with surface options like padded fabric, vinyl, and plastic inserts. www.4one.com

NHTSA Ruling

In terms of safety, a ruling by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was officially implemented in November 2016. While it was voted on and confirmed three years ago, agencies were given time to comply. The ruling requires an integrated three-point seatbelt for adults and companions in most motorcoaches, also known as over-the- road vehicles. Buses that need to comply with this regulation have a GVWR greater than 26,000 pounds and an elevated passenger deck located above a baggage compartment. Some exceptions include school buses and prison buses.

Additionally, many seat manufacturers are now offering optional integrated child seats (ICS) and child restraint systems (CRS) on all over-the-road buses, according to Freedman Seating’s President Dan Cohen.

“As time passes in the industry, the people who buy and operate buses, as well as the passengers who ride in buses, are starting to want seatbelts more and more,” Cohen says. “There’s no denying that a person belted into a three-point seat is the safest of all passengers. It’s not to say other passengers aren’t safe, but there are ranges, and people tend to want the safest option possible.”

The Amaya GT Seat
has a backrest designed to give privacy between rows.
The Amaya GT Seathas a backrest designed to give privacy between rows.
Amaya-Astron: The Amaya GT Seat is used primarily in motorcoaches and includes the newest three-point integrated seat belts for the motorcoach industry. It has a thin back design that meets all federal safety regulations, with more hip-to-knee room and a comfortable backrest designed to give privacy between rows. A retractable shoulder belt comes out of the side of the seat and automatically adjusts to suit any passenger regardless of their height. www.amaya-astron.com.mx

Seating Layout

On the transit side, there are also less traditional seating layouts that more easily accommodate baby carriages, shopping carts, and mobility devices, according to USSC Group’s Managing Director Ray Melleady. He says that today, transit managers are challenged with the need to provide improved accommodations for mobility devices at a minimized time cost.

“There is a lot more emphasis on balancing seating capacity and comfort with device management (securement, maneuverability, etc.) on the lower deck of the vehicle. A well-designed layout will improve traffic flow but minimize the impact to seating capacity,” Melleady says. “That’s important because understanding the appropriate seat layout, seat type, and securement options for the Americans with Disabilities Act can improve the driver and passenger experience and reduce dwell time.”

Specialized layouts include split flip seats, which permit the seat to lift independently and offer the passenger flexibility with their shopping cart or baby carriage. The front curb-level portion of the bus will also often have back-to-back zones to accommodate the Americans with Disabilities Act, which facilitate foot traffic and mobility device securement, Melleady says.

The Q’POD has a light-weight product barrier that passes all belt load requirements at a 20% reduction in weight compared to other offerings.
The Q’POD has a light-weight product barrier that passes all belt load requirements at a 20% reduction in weight compared to other offerings.
American Seating: American Seating’s Q’POD seating system is designed for public transit buses with stowage locations in response to past issues of restraint belts that would hang from their outlets and touch the floor, allowing for a more organized appearance and enhanced functionality. Maneuverability space is also critical for vehicles, and the Q’POD system offers the
tightest folding flip-up seats in the industry, creating five inches of extra aisle space for enhanced comfort. Additionally, the Q’POD is a very lightweight product, and American Seating has engineered a lighter barrier that passes all belt-load requirements at a 20% reduction in weight compared to other offerings. American Seating’s mantra is to be the ultimate resource by building dependable products that perform and allow each transportation properties brand to excel.
www.americanseating.com

Convenience

On the technology front, passengers are growing more accustomed to what may have previously been considered luxurious; the rising prevalence of in-transit power outlets allow passengers to charge their devices while en-route, a solution to the drained batteries of smart phones and tablets.

“If you’re spending time on a transit bus, a shuttle bus, or an over-the-road bus, it’s nice to be able to spend that 10 minutes or two hours not draining your battery, or even charging it,” Cohen says. “Everybody is always in search of a place to charge their device, and this can even give people a reason to ride the bus.”

USB applications are also offered in lieu of wall outlets, a feature which is also offered by American Seating Company on their Metropolitan seat and barrier products.

“I believe more USB applications on other products are forthcoming, as they’ve been well received and we continue to produce seat sets for those same customers who have ordered these USB outlets,” American Seating’s Director of Marketing Doug G. Oswald says.

Public transit systems are becoming more safe, convenient, and comfortable, making the entire experience more appealing to passengers.

And as a way to improve the experience of those who maintenance these vehicles, Amaya-Astron, Freedman Seating, and 4ONE released an Auto Return Recliner Mechanism, which automatically returns seat backs to their upright positions when no one in seated.

“It takes time to walk through and move those recliner levers and reach across the seats to do the ones against the window,” Cohen says. “If you have 20 buses, it adds up to a nice time savings on a daily basis.”


Freedman Seating’s Caregiver Seat has a tapered back, which provides unrestricted viewing for drivers.
Freedman Seating’s Caregiver Seat has a tapered back, which provides unrestricted viewing for drivers.
Freedman Seating Company: Freedman Seating Co.’s Caregiver Seat offers maximum safety for all passengers with three-point seatbelts and the choice of ICS Integrated Child Seat (ICS) and/or Child Restraint System for children. The newly upgraded Caregiver seat is designed for a comfortable, safe ride for everyone from children to their guardians. The three-point seatbelts have been added for adults, while the optional ICS is available for children from 22 to 78 pounds. A tapered back provides unrestricted viewing for drivers and the shoulder belts can be adjusted in seconds without taking the seat apart, avoiding clumsy operations. It is used in small to mid-size buses, especially school activity buses.
www.freedmanseating.com

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