If you're a wheelchair user that leads an active lifestyle, it's likely that accessibility is one issue that's top of your mind. For instance, you might have concerns about taking public transportation in a wheelchair. To help ease your mind, here are some detailed answers to questions related to this topic.
Is My Wheelchair Recognized By the Americans With Disabilities Act?
To answer this question fully, it helps to refer to the standard definition of a wheelchair, which is a device with three or more wheels that is used as a mobility aid and can be used indoors. According to the same definition, a wheelchair can also be operated manually, or it can be powered. As long as a mobility aid meets this standard definition, it will be classified as a “wheelchair” even if it's, say, an electric scooter.
What Do I Need to Know About Transportation Operators and the Requirements They Have to Adhere to?
For starters, according to the Federal Transit Administration, transportation operators are required to have lifts with a minimum design load of 600 pounds. In addition, the lift should be able to accommodate wheelchairs measuring 30 inches by 48 inches. If the lift can accommodate heavier and larger wheelchairs, then the operator is required to carry the occupant.
However, if the lift has a design load of 600 pounds, an operator is not required to transport a wheelchair that weighs 800 pounds. If the operator feels that carrying a wheelchair user doesn't align with legitimate safety requirements, then they are also not required to carry the wheelchair and its occupant. Also, keep in mind there's no requirement for operators to retrofit their vehicles to accommodate wheelchairs that are heavier than the standard 600 pounds.
Is There Any Additional Information I Might Find Useful When Using Public Transportation As a Wheelchair User?
If the lift is designed for boarding passengers while facing away from the vehicle, it's still possible to choose to board while facing inward. Again, this is according to the Federal Transit Administration. It's also the responsibility of the transport operator to be able to operate the accessibility equipment and accommodate different types of wheelchairs. Most importantly, according to Pants Up Easy, around 98% of public transportation buses have all the accessibility equipment to accommodate wheelchair users.
Hopefully, you have found this information and feel more confident navigating public transportation in your wheelchair. Contact DME Hub LLC for all your wheelchair accessory needs!