Welcome! This video is intended to serve as a training tool for transit supervisors and trainers of student operators at East Carolina University to show the correct ways to accommodate passengers in wheelchairs. We will cover the right way to load a passenger in a wheelchair, the correct way to secure a passenger in a wheelchair using a floor mounted tie-down system, how to safely turn and apply brakes and how to properly unload a passenger in a wheelchair. When pulling up to a bus stop, the bus driver should observe that a passenger in a wheelchair is waiting at the stop. Park the bus where there is a curbside appropriate docking point to provide a flat surface for the lift to be deployed. Before opening the doors of the bus or deploying the ramp or lift, the driver should apply the parking brake, and then fold away any bus seats where the passenger in a wheelchair will park their chair. If you are operating a bus with a lift system, you must properly insert the safety brackets onto the floor and make sure they are securely in place. Once the doors are open and before the able-bodied passengers begin to crowd onto the bus, the driver should immediately take control of the situation and inform those passengers that they must wait outside of the bus until the passenger in a wheelchair is loaded, docked, and secured in place. This will allow the bus driver sufficient space when securing the passenger in a wheelchair. At this point the bus driver can deploy the ramp or lift. If operating a bus with a ramp and it is properly positioned and it is flat on the ground, the passenger can board the bus. If operating a bus with a lift system, once the bus driver has successfully deployed the ramp and it is flat on the ground, the driver should ask the passenger in a wheelchair if they have their chair’s seat belt on. If it is not on, the bus driver should recommend that it be put on prior to loading. If needed, assist them with putting on the seat belt. East Carolina University’s Transit policy regarding wheelchairs states that it is up to the passenger in a wheelchair as to which way they prefer to be loaded onto the lift. They have the option to be loaded on the lift backwards by backing onto the lift or the option to be loaded on the lift forward facing the bus. Once the bus driver informs the passenger in a wheelchair that they are safely on the lift, the driver will then ask them to turn off their chair prior to activating the lift. The driver will then activate the lift by raising it up until it stops. The driver should check to make sure that the lift is all the way up and flush with the interior floor of the bus before the passenger moves off the lift and boards the bus. Once inside, the bus driver may need to instruct the passenger in a wheelchair where they should position their chair depending on where the tie-down brackets are located. Once in position, the driver must attach two tie-down straps to the front of the wheelchair, extending outwards at a 45° angle to provide greater stability. Two tie-down straps should also be attached to the back of the wheelchair. After all four straps have been attached and firmly tightened, the driver will ask the passenger if they would like to put on the shoulder seatbelt that is located inside the bus. Transit’s policy states that it is up to the passenger as to whether or not they use the shoulder seatbelt. Once the passenger in a wheelchair has been loaded successfully, the bus driver can then inform the other passengers that they can board. Many passengers in wheelchairs have limited torso control so it is essential for the bus driver to prepare for turns and stops well in advance. When approaching a stop, a bus driver should easily apply the brakes. They should also easily apply pressure to the gas pedal when beginning to move forward again. Never slam your foot on the brakes or gas pedal. When approaching a turn, the bus driver should turn slowly and easily. Never take turns or bends at a fast pace, as this will toss the passenger from side to side. Unloading a passenger in a wheelchair is very similar to loading the passenger onto the bus. When pulling up to the bus stop where the passenger needs to exit, the bus driver should stop and park the bus where there is a curbside appropriate docking point to provide a flat surface for the lift to be deployed. Once the parking brake is again is applied The driver should allow all able-bodied passengers to exit the vehicle first when they have reached their destination. Also communicate to the oncoming passengers that they must wait outside of the bus until the passenger in the wheelchair is safely off the bus This will prevent the bus driver from having to maneuver between passengers when removing the tie-down straps or securing mechanisms from the passenger’s wheelchair. The driver can then remove all tie-down straps as well as the seatbelt if it was applied. The driver should ensure that all tie-down straps are removed from the floor area where the passenger will be maneuvering their wheelchair. If operating a bus with a lift system, the driver will exit the vehicle and go to the lift on the exterior. At this point the driver will tell the passenger that they can begin moving their wheelchair onto the lift, giving directions as needed to ensure that the wheelchair is centered. Once the wheelchair is safely on the lift, the driver should then ask the passenger to turn their chair off. When the passenger is ready, the driver will lower the lift until it is flat on the ground. The passenger can then exit the lift. The driver should ask the passenger if they would like to leave their lap belt on, and provide assistance removing it if needed. This completes our training on how to accommodate passengers in wheelchairs when riding a bus or paratransit vehicle. If you have further questions please feel free to contact us at anytime!