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MTA buying wheelchair friendly SUVs (VPG's MV-1 cost $40K vs $100K cutaway)

Posted by Gold_12th on Wed Aug 18 00:18:07 2010

MTA investing in wheelchair-friendly SUVs
In an effort to streamline its Access-a-Ride program, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is putting 30 new vehicles on the streets of New York.



By January, the MTA hopes to have 30 MV-1 wheelchair-accessible sport-utility vehicles on the streets—15 of which will be powered by compressed natural gas.Also SeeMadoff's alleged cohorts bemoan heaps of evidenceAppeals court concludes NYC will lose fuel fightAgency admits wheelchair-taxi program a bust

Taxi and Limousine Commission, Transportation

The Taxi & Limousine Commission has not embraced the MV-1, the only car designed and built to be wheelchair-accessible, but the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has.

By January, the MTA hopes to have 30 MV-1 wheelchair-accessible sport-utility vehicles on the streets—15 of which will be powered by compressed natural gas. The $40,000 cars, made by Miami-based Vehicle Production Group, cost 60% less than Access-a-Ride vans.

The cars are part of an effort to lower the cost of paratransit rides to $45 per person from around $60. The cost of providing Access-a-Ride service, which is required under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, has skyrocketed nearly 148% since 2006 to $472 million this year.

The TLC won't approve new vehicles while it commissions automakers to build the Taxi of Tomorrow.

Jim Weisman, general counsel for the United Spinal Association, says he likes the cars but wishes they could be part of the taxi fleet. That would make it easier for people with disabilities to hail an accessible-vehicle.

The MTA and the TLC are working on a program that would allow disabled riders to use an MTA debit card to pay for taxis. Tom Charles, vice president at the MTA's paratransit division, said that 80% of the Access-a-Ride program's 144,000 users are not wheelchair dependent. He said if the new vehicles perform well on the road, the TLC might be inclined to approve them.

“I think this vehicle addresses the concerns of the taxi industry,” he said. “I think our demonstration project might help.”

Unlike most vehicles that have been modified with a wheelchair lift, the MV-1—which stands for mobility vehicle one—has wheelchair ramps that are easier to operate and less expensive to maintain than a hydraulic lift.

“We're in a position to put them through a good test, and regardless of what the TLC does, if it's a successful vehicle for us it will be part of our fleet,” Mr. Charles said.

The MV-1 can hold up to two wheelchairs and has a back bench seat that can seat three people. IT will go into production this fall.

Source: http://mobile.newyorkbusiness.com/device/article.php?id=&CALL_URL=http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100813/FREE/100819897

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MTA Long Island Bus PR:

Last summer, MTA Long Island Bus's Able-Ride service added four-door sedans to its paratransit fleet as part of a pilot program to diversify its mix of vehicles. Now it's getting ready to take the next step by looking at "purpose-built wheelchair accessible vehicles." These ADA compliant vehicles cost approximately $40,000 each while a paratransit bus costs about $100,000.

With the need for paratransit service continuing to grow throughout the MTA service territory, a key strategic initiative is to address this increasing demand for service while maximizing cost efficiencies. Maintenance for these vehicles costs about half of what it does on the larger buses.

"One area of opportunity lies in identifying a vehicle that is better suited for paratransit demand responsive service," said Thomas J. Charles, Vice President of Paratransit Services for the MTA.

Today more than 14 million Americans need mobility devices such as wheelchairs, crutches, or walkers to travel. In the past, that meant utilizing a large framed bus that could support the heavy hydraulics to operate a lift. Expensive to maintain, operate and purchase, these buses served a purpose but require carrying a large number of customers to make trips more cost efficient. Typically, paratransit trips are scheduled in a sequential manner with individual pick-ups and drop offs at discrete addresses common with demand responsive transportation.

Recently, the manufacturer of the First Mobility Vehicle, or MV-1, took their demonstrator car to the Stewart Avenue depot in Garden City, to get reaction from the disabled community on Long Island. Looking more like a mini-SUV than a paratransit bus, the MV-1 was designed around the idea of accessibility.

"It's based on standard taxi in London," said Dave Schembri, CEO of Vehicle Production Group LLC (VPG), which will begin production manufacturing the vehicles as early as this fall. "We saw the same concept could be used to solve accessibility issues."

According to Schembri, past efforts at creating such vehicles failed because they attempted to retrofit existing designs for paratransit travel, driving up the cost and not meeting ADA requirements. Similar to fixed route buses, the MV-1 has a deployable ramp that carries a 1,200-pound capacity and can sit five passengers — including two forward-facing wheelchairs or scooters. The ADA compliant vehicle is available in either gasoline or compressed natural gas (CNG) models.

In addition to applications for paratransit fleets, ramp accessible vehicles like the MV-1 can also serve the taxi, limo and black car industries. Once universally accessible vehicles are the industry norm, Able-Ride and Access-A-Ride can further reduce operating costs by expanding their transportation networks to provide paratransit customers with access to local taxi or car service.

Source: http://mta.info/news/stories/?story=89

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Re: MTA buying wheelchair friendly SUVs (VPG's MV-1 cost $40K vs $100K cutaway)

Posted by SUBWAYSURF on Wed Aug 18 04:32:49 2010, in response to MTA buying wheelchair friendly SUVs (VPG's MV-1 cost $40K vs $100K cutaway), posted by Gold_12th on Wed Aug 18 00:18:07 2010.

>>>>The TLC won't approve new vehicles while it commissions automakers to build the Taxi of Tomorrow.<<<<

Heh, "The Taxi Of Tommorrow" is something that they have trotted out ad-nuseum every few years since the demise of the Checker. I won't be holding my breath waiting for it.

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(204850)

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Re: MTA buying wheelchair friendly SUVs (VPG's MV-1 cost $40K vs $100K cutaway)

Posted by Mr RT on Wed Aug 18 07:58:38 2010, in response to MTA buying wheelchair friendly SUVs (VPG's MV-1 cost $40K vs $100K cutaway), posted by Gold_12th on Wed Aug 18 00:18:07 2010.

On this site we have talked a lot about how cost inefficient the Express service is ... but here's another inefficient service !

If 80% of Access-A-Ride are N-O-T wheelchair dependent then what's going on here ... these folks are getting door to door service because of a Fed. law (Am. w/Disabilities Act) ?
The regular bus service also is wheelchair equiped, so what is the need for Access-A-Ride ?

I think it's great that Transit's Bus division is trying to make this Access-A-Ride service more cost efficient (by buying these SUVs) ! Too often they end up carring one customer or have a bunch of no shows.

Maybe it would be cheeper for the 80% that aren't wheelchair dependent to take a taxii ?

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(204852)

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Re: MTA buying wheelchair friendly SUVs (VPG's MV-1 cost $40K vs $100K cutaway)

Posted by JAzumah on Wed Aug 18 09:11:24 2010, in response to Re: MTA buying wheelchair friendly SUVs (VPG's MV-1 cost $40K vs $100K cutaway), posted by Mr RT on Wed Aug 18 07:58:38 2010.

A LOT cheaper. It couuld cut their costs in half. A number of cities have gone to a taxi voucher system. They let the taxis do what they do and they also charge more for the privilege.

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