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20 A large majority of respondents provided means for trans- double-deck bus fleets reported that experience was either porting bicycles for their riders. A breakdown of how respon- the same or better. dents transported bicycles by HC bus type is given in Table 23. However, the response from respondents with 45-ft bus WHEELCHAIR EQUIPMENT AND fleets was significantly different: more than half (57%) re- PASSENGER EXPERIENCE ported that the experience of transporting passengers with wheelchairs was poorer than on 40-ft buses. In further analy- The equipment for boarding passengers using wheelchairs sis of the responses, this experience was found to be related for articulated and double-deck buses was for the most part more to the use of the lifts versus ramps than to HC bus types. located in the first door, which is typical for most standard The vast majority of the 45-ft buses used were high-deck in- buses in the North America. The exceptions for the articu- tercity coaches, and all of those reporting a "poorer" experi- lated fleets were for some BRT vehicles and for the articu- ence were comparing it with their experience with low-floor lated buses designed and manufactured in Europe. For the 40-ft buses. The 45-ft fleets that reported the same experi- double-deck fleets, one had ramps in both first and second ence were comparing with their high-floor 40-ft transit buses doors, one had only the first door, and one had only the sec- or intercity coaches. Table 24 provides a breakdown of the ond door. Five respondents (15%) (four in Canada and AC experiences with transporting passengers in wheelchairs. Transit in the United States) used the rear-facing compart- ment design with padded backrest for accommodating An examination of the following comments of the 45-ft wheelchairs. Of these five systems, three used a combination fleets sheds some additional insight on the issue. of one forward plus one rear-facing position, whereas two Canadian systems used two rear-facing positions. Location of lift mid-bus versus at entrance well, seating loss of eight positions as seats needed to be slid in tracks The 45-ft fleets using the intercity coaches all had a sec- and folded before boarding, instead of quick flip-up ond access door, used only for wheelchair boarding with a seats, lift versus ramp on low floors, full boarding lift. The fleet using the 45-ft composite transit bus had the requiring 8 min more that standard stairwell lift and ramp in the second door with three forward-facing positions. 12 min more than low-floor ramp. Longer boarding time required for a wheelchair on In terms of experience with respect to the transporting of 45-ft bus. passengers using wheelchairs, the survey responses indi- Takes two to three times as long to board as a standard cated a dichotomy of experiences with HC buses. The artic- 40-ft bus. ulated fleets overwhelmingly reported that the experience Intercity wheelchair lift is very slow, with a long load- was the same as with standard 40-ft buses (95%), with only ing time. one respondent reporting an inferior experience. One re- Poorer with wheelchairs, requiring moving seats and spondent indicated that its articulated buses were well used 5 min to deploy lifts. and very crowded, and a possible difficulty of passengers Longer time to load as a result of having to move the using wheelchairs reaching the wheelchair positions. The ambulatory seats out of the way. TABLE 23 The dissatisfaction stems from the longer time it takes to ACCOMMODATION OF BICYCLES ON HIGHER CAPACITY BUSES (by HC bus type) board and secure a passenger using a wheelchair. The longer time is inherent to the elevation of the vehicle from the HC Bus Type Means of Accommodations ground causing a greater amount of vertical travel; the prepa- Articulated 19 respondents used a front bike rack that ration of a wheelchair position also takes more effort and would accommodate two bicycles time. There may also be additional issue time required when Two BRT systems provide racks inside the vehicle for bicycles two wheelchair users are on the bus, depending on their re- One respondent is going to front bike racks that spective exit stop. It may be necessary to offload the first would accommodate three bicycles Double-Deck Two respondents use a front bike rack that will accommodate two bicycles TABLE 24 45-ft Intercity Coach Three respondents transport bicycles in the REPORTED EXPERIENCE WITH TRANSPORTING under floor storage bays. Two indicated that a PASSENGERS IN WHEELCHAIRS maximum of two bicycles could be accommodated Wheelchair Passenger Experience One respondent used a front bike rack that Type of HC Bus No. of Fleets Better Same Poorer would accommodate two bicycles Five respondents did not indicate how bicycles Articulated 18 (95%) 1 (5%) 19 were accommodated, but reported that they Double-Deck 1 (33%) 2 (67%) 3 were 45-ft 6 (43%)a 8 (57%) 14 45-ft Transit Bus One respondent used a front bike rack that would accommodate two bicycles Source: Transit agency survey responses. a Two fleets only have 40-ft intercity coaches for comparison, and the other Source: Transit agency survey responses. four fleets have high floor 40-ft buses for comparison.