The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) announced today that Q’ Straint, a global company offering wheelchair passenger safety solutions for public and private transportation, will be at Kennedy Plaza on Thursday, June 1, 2017, from 10am to 1pm demonstrating their new products – the Quantum and Q’Pod. Q’ Straint and RIPTA staff will be stationed near the Soldiers and Sailors monument demonstrating wheelchair passenger securement systems for fixed-route buses. RIPTA invites the public to test and provide input on these two wheelchair securement systems, which guarantee self-securement in under 25 seconds without requiring the driver to leave their seat to help. Quantum is the transportation industry’s first fully automatic rear-facing wheelchair securement station. It lets wheelchair and scooter passengers board the bus or train, position their chair and simply push a button to secure themselves in a stable and safe rear-facing position. The device locks the wheelchair in and holds it in place. Q’ Straint will also demonstrate their Q’Pod, which offers forward-facing wheelchair securement.
“Rear facing wheelchairs on public transportation were controversial in the 1980s so we want to make sure that we reach out to as many people as possible as we look at new technologies,” said Mark Therrien, Executive Director of RIPTA’s RIde program for persons with disabilities. “Over the years, however, we have learned that it is very important that passengers who use wheelchairs are empowered to be self-sufficient, and this new technology eliminates the need for them to be secured on the bus by a driver.” Therrien said that RIPTA staff has been discussing the new technology with RIPTA’s Accessible Transportation Advisory Committee (ATAC) and members of the committee will be at the Plaza as well. Later in the day, from about 3 pm to 7 pm, Q’Straint will host a demonstration for bus operators at RIPTA headquarters on Elmwood Avenue in Providence.
Although RIPTA is gathering public input on the technology, no decision has been made yet about what type of wheelchair locking system RIPTA will install on new fixed route buses. Therrien said that a number of factors will need to be considered including cost and the amount of space needed on the bus. All RIPTA fixed-route buses are equipped with ramps and room for two wheelchairs. “We will still have a lot to consider internally,” Therrien said. “But we felt it was important to get public input regarding a rear-facing wheelchair restraint system that would offer more independence in the future to passengers with disabilities.”
Q’Straint is a global company with domestic offices in Fort Lauderdale Florida. Some of the public transit systems that currently use this technology include Chicago, Dallas, San Jose, and Oklahoma City.
For more information on RIPTA’s programs and services, visit www.RIPTA.com or call 401-781-9400.