The following announcement from the US Access Board
(formally known as the US Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board) is self-explanatory. They hope to get as many comments as possible from those of us who use ramped buses or paratransit vans, as manufacturers are proposing some new designs that may not be as accessible or user-friendly as the ramps that are in use today.
Here is that announcement:
The Access Board is reopening the comment period on proposed updates to its ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles to collect additional information on bus ramps. As part of this effort, the Board will hold public meetings in September and October to discuss the usability and impacts of certain bus ramp designs that have been implemented more recently. This information will be used to finalize proposed updates to sections of the guidelines covering buses and vans.
In 2010, the Board released for public comment a proposal to update sections of the vehicle guidelines covering buses and vans. The proposed rule included revisions to technical specifications for vehicle ramps, onboard circulation routes, wheelchair spaces, and securement systems. To improve accessibility, the Board proposed reducing the maximum slope of vehicle ramps.
The Board, which is finalizing the updated guidelines according to the public comments received, recently has been made aware of a specific bus ramp design that is responsive to the proposed slope reduction but that may impact usability. This design allows a portion of deployed ramps to remain inside the vehicle to minimize their exterior projection. Questions have arisen about this type of design, including grade breaks that occur on ramp runs, reduced maneuvering space at the top of ramps, and access to fare collection devices. This information and correspondence received by the Board have been placed in the rulemaking docket which is available online at regulations.gov.
To further examine this ramp design and to collect additional information and feedback from the public, the Board is re-opening the docket, as indicated in a published notice. The Board plans to hold a public meeting at 2:15 p.m. October 2, 2012 at the annual meeting of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) at the Seattle Convention Center. Bus and ramp manufacturers, transit operators, disability organizations, researchers, and interested individuals are encouraged to attend this meeting and to submit comment. Written comments will be accepted until October 31 and can be submitted through the regulations.gov website.
For further information, visit the vehicles homepage or contact Scott Windley at firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 272-0025 (voice), or (202) 272-0028 (TTY).
While submitting your comments should only take a few minutes, it is important that as many actual riders who will use ramps to access the buses provide comments for Board consideration. You can bet that there will be plenty of manufacturers' representatives on hand to make their case for the new ramp designs. Thanks in advance for taking advantage of this opportunity to influence future regulations.
© 2012 Michael Collins