Peter McFerrin, a research analyst for Brookings Institute that published the now (in)famous Missed Opportunities study about transit in US , writes at length about the opportunity for private transit in suburban areas in this article published on The New Republic.
And to an extent I do agree with Mr. McFerrin –private transit initiatives can provide a sound alternative to public transportation. The organization I belong to, ACTC, agreed that to allow a private local provider Lenzner Coaches to replace the service lost as a consequence of Port Authority ‘s recent cuts. The reason why we voted for this alternative service was that since as long as we represent the riders’ interest and we consider the typical rider on those routes a private alternative will be better than none]. And, it is my guess that, unlike the New York pilot program quoted by Mr. McFerrin, Lenzner is running a profitable service.
In the previous post I covered a little bit the topic of bus accommodations for bulky object with wheels in Germany. So I could not help to recall some old bickering on the wheelchair accommodations offered by Pittsburgh buses ( wheelchairs are the only bulky objects with wheels they will allow in a bus )
This story I wrote in July 2007 covers the unfortunate story of a wheelchair bound rider who ended suspended halfway between the ground and the bus floor:
“I am trying to pay my debt and it had become increasingly difficult (not that I am the only one in this situation). When they asked me to work some overtime, I volunteered even some more hours in…SO, today I was supposed to be in at 9am (instead of 12pm).
But as it was said, Tuesday there must be three bad hours.
The first bad hour :It started yesterday evening when I realized I must have caught a cold or something. I decided to go early to bed and take some acetaminophen based cold pills. It worked last night, I got in that drowsy state and felt great, but unfortunately the drowsy effect did not vanish in eight hours as supposed, but lingered with me in bed . I got up for a late start and dilly-dallied in the shower and left my house so late that:
The second bad hour: I missed my bus. I called in and told my boss I’ll be half an hour late counting toward the overtime I volunteered. Got in the next bus and made it just in time for my connection. For a minute or so I thought my luck had changed. But it did not:
The third bad hour: One passenger in a wheelchair. The driver gets the platform out – you know, the one that is supposed to raise him at the floor level, and it gets stuck. Yes, the poor guy was stuck right in the middle, at the second step level. He could not get out and he could not get in…
I did felt bad for that man and his wheelchair. But I felt even worse for me, I was 45 minutes late to work –and that was half the time I volunteered to work over my schedule. Do you think they’ll ask me again? I am afraid they won’t. “
Deutsche Busse -Innen
Americans are world-wide famous for their pragmatism. However when it comes to designing the interior of a bus their pragmatism went out of the bus windows . The accommodation for wheelchair bound riders in the front of the bus looks as a gauche modification to the original design just for the sake of complying with ADA regulations.
On the other side –German bus designer made sure that they can accommodate any type of bulky, wheel based mobility accessory including strollers, carts and big carry-ons without creating too much discomfort for other riders.