Special-needs passengers ignored

By From page A4 | September 02, 2014

At the Aug. 11 Yolo County Transportation District board meeting, the Yolobus board apparently continued toward its goal of no longer allowing front-facing flip seats to fold down, thus removing about half the Yolobus seating for riders with special needs, including those with walkers and shopping carts.

The new front seat signage, “Seat Does Not Flip Down,” apparently was mandated by various insurers who were concerned about injuries to riders falling forward from quick bus braking or sudden slowdowns. Mandatory use of seat belts has not worked.

Although insurers began discussing disabling the front seats last December, the public was not notified until this month’s meeting — after action began disabling front seats. Barriers are to be installed ahead of new buses’ front seats. So as an alternative to less space/seating for others with special needs, insurers should:

* Consider older light rail seating, with every other seat being rear-facing, resulting in most of the non-aisle/non-seating floor space being available for more riders with special needs;

* Doubly reverse those two front-facing seats (switch sides and the directions they face) and adding firm foam padding to the rear of flip seats; and

* Eliminate two or more of the front-facing seats and adjust seating so the result is two or more light rail-type seating areas, even if it means drilling more floor holes and plugging others.

To take no further action beyond the “Seat Does Not Flip Down” signage sends out the wrong message, I believe, especially for Woodland and West Sacramento. (Davis has Unitrans and Sacramento has Regional Transit.) The message is: “Bus-riding shoppers with special needs, including shoppers with carts, do not shop in our city; we are not interested in sales tax revenue.” Is that the message we want to send?

William Lowell

West Sacramento

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