UNIVERSALLY ACCESSIBLE MINIBUS TRANSPORT
We have made an innovative practical creation.It is a working minibus, in prototype form; which can carry both passengers with disabilities or without. All passengers enter the vehicle by the same kerbside entrance which aligns to new minibus stop design. There is neither a loss of safety by having to enter the vehicle through the rear in fast moving traffic, nor loss of dignity by being loaded onto a minibus via a hoist or lift.
The minibus can access rural areas being small enough with sufficient ground clearance, and with a boarding bridge that can be deployed as a level surface or as a ramp, depending on the available sidewalk infrastructure. All the parts are designed and manufactured in South Africa, and all at an affordable cost for small business development.
This minibus was developed together with informal collaboration staff at the national Department of Transport. No financial help was received from any government source. The DAR team that developed the designs comprises of people with and without disabilities, with a range of technical skills that benefited the project.
The prototype minibus can carry a variety of seating and wheelchair configurations. For instance, in taxi form it has 15 seats and by surrendering only two seats, can carry one passenger in a wheelchair. By surrendering five seats, it can carry two passengers in wheelchairs. The seats are flip up seats in the front two rows which means that it takes very little time to reconfigure the seating. The benefit of this arrangement is that the operations to accommodate passengers in wheelchairs can form part of the regular operations of the minibus taxi service, as no significant time is lost when passengers in wheelchairs embark or disembark. Passengers can access and disembark without assistance from the driver, unless specifically requested.
In this prototype, the smallest minibus in the range is suitable to be driven by a Code 8 driver, and it can carry a maximum of four passengers in wheelchairs all safely strapped in. Four restraints attached to the wheel chair and a separate seat belt to the passenger’s body mounted on the floor. The seats are easily removable using aircraft technology so changing the seating/wheelchair configuration is an easy job. This makes the vehicle suitable for learner transport and accessible tourism as well as mainstream transport services.
We need financial help to complete a second prototype bus suitable for homologation and production. Work has started but funds are needed for development work, we need scope to explore different option prior to production.
We will further require help to build, construct a pilot plant to build some prototypes to be placed with municipalities so that the design can be developed and further tested. At this stage it is hoped that the myopic financial institutions could come on board and offer finance.
The minibus has been shown at the recent DOT conference and been well received.
Our conversion is not restricted to one brand of vehicle.
For more details on our project please contact us at:
email: [email protected]