I have been directly involved in ‘elderly and handicapped transportation’ for the State of Rhode Island for 25+ years. My affiliated company in neighboring south-central Massachusetts provides similar transportation in that area, along with ‘Special Needs’ pupil transportation in Mass. – 70 vehicles are doing that type of work in both Mass. and RI. Of those 70 vehicles, 25± are wheelchair vehicles.
This message is in response to the following:
ARCHITECTURAL AND TRANSPORTATION BARRIERS COMPLIANCE BOARD Published in the Federal Register on April 11, 2007. PDF version
36 CFR Part 1192
[Docket No. 2007-1]
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles
AGENCY: Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.
ACTION: Availability of draft revisions to guidelines.
ADA, as of right now, eats up 50% of the total number of trips for the State of RI … it is creating a HUGE impact on the RI Paratransit system. An ambulatory elderly person wanting to schedule a doctors’ appointment has a 6-8 week wait to get a ride to a doctor … All because of ADA.
In the mid to late 1980’s, we did our own scheduling before RI brought in a ‘broker’ system. When WE did the scheduling, prior to the present ADA regs., all elderly Rhode Islanders were only required to call in 48 hours in advance.
Bottom line is that ADA presently is creating a tremendous impact nationwide.
Changing the requirements for wheelchair accessibility will literally destroy the system. A regular van, brand new, converted to a wheelchair van with a raised roof and all the ‘bells & whistles’, even with a GPC rebate, costs me $30,000.
Wheelchair minivans’ -- much more fuel-efficient and much more able to access ADA clients in a very difficult location -- 2 months ago I paid $26,000 for a converted 1-year old minivan.
The Rhode Island paratransit system’s BIG w/chair buses already cost $75,000 – Adding any additional modifications will increase costs of all these vehicles.
Most importantly, any significant modifications will ELIMINATE the use of wheelchair minivans, which are the ‘favorite vehicles’ of SO many of our clients, our drivers, and even the parents of some of our clients who have seen them used for our service and have actually gone out and purchased wheelchair minivans themselves.
Another ‘act of destruction’ – a new wheelchair accessible vehicle, called a ‘Standard Taxi’ is still in the ‘prototype’ stage, with production expected to begin this fall. Changing the ADA regs. will likely destroy this new concept which right now is in its’ finishing stages. It will be a vehicle that can carry a wheelchair passenger and/or 3-4 ambulatory passengers. This vehicle, right now, could be purchased by the State of RI, and RIPTA has already expressed interest in purchasing those vehicles using federal funds and assigning them to taxicab companies in enough locations to provide a means to service existing ADA mandated transportation.
I could provide a multitude of additional information, but just learning of these revisions last week keeps me from being able to put that together and to still have this submitted by today’s deadline.
Bill Legare, President
Travelers Transit Inc. Valley Transportation Corp.
Valley Cab Company Inc. Northwest Transportation Service Inc.
Phone: 401-766-5900 800-508-5055 Fax: 401-762-9295