Accessibility

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Wheels is a convenient, accessible and safe way for people with disabilities to get around.  All Wheels buses meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, offering wheelchair ramps and other features to accommodate riders with disabilities.  Digital signs and audio systems announce major stops and transfer points.

For a free copy of Access Alameda Transportation Services for Seniors and People with Disabilities in Alameda County visit accessalameda.org or call Wheels Customer Service Center at (925) 455-7500.  Otherwise, click on the headers below for more detailed information on common accessibility topics.

Low Floor Buses

Wheels operates low floor buses as part of its fleet of accessible vehicles. Low floor buses enable ambulatory passengers to board at curb level without the need to step up to enter the bus.

Priority Seating

Certain seats on the bus are designated as priority seating for passengers with disabilities and seniors. These priority seats are located just behind the driver. The bus driver may ask an ambulatory passenger occupying priority seating to move if a passenger with disabilities or a senior boards.

Visually Impaired Passengers

All transfer point bus stops and major bus stops are called out by the Wheels’ Automatic Voice Announcement System. Additionally, as the bus approaches a transfer point bus stop, the system announces the bus line number which can be heard externally by waiting passengers.

Service Animals

Service animals utilized for mobility assistance are welcome on Wheels buses. The following regulations must be followed:

      • Service animal owners are required to pay a full fare except when presenting a Regional Transit
      • Connection Discount Card, Medicare Card, DMV placard identification card.
      • All service animals must be on a harness and sit on the floor out of the aisle.
      • Owners must have full control of their service animal and are liable according to the law.
      • Service animals may not pose a threat or danger to other riders.

Traveling with an Escort or Personal Care Attendant

Some people travel with an attendant when using transit or paratransit. For example, a paratransit rider may require assistance within their home when preparing for a trip, or an escort from the paratransit vehicle to their ultimate destination. In other cases, riders cannot be safely left alone and/or require supervision even while in the vehicle for their own safety and the safety of other passengers and the driver. In such cases, an escort or personal care attendant (PCA) accompanying the rider may be necessary for ensuring safe travel.

One PCA may travel for free with a paying passenger on Wheels Dial-A-Ride.

Contact Wheels ADA Coordinator for more information about policies related to PCAs or escorts on Wheels fixed-route service at (925) 455-7555. For information on finding transportation escort assistance, call 211, Alameda County’s hot-line for social services referrals, or visit Eden l&R on-line Resource Finder at www.alamedaco.info.

For a free copy of Access Alameda Transportation Services for Seniors and People with Disabilities in Alameda County visit www.accessalameda.org or call Wheels Customer Service Center at (925) 455-7500.

Wheelchair Access

Most Wheels buses are equipped with a wheelchair “flip out” ramp and “kneeling” feature to make boarding and disembarking the bus quick and easy for all passengers, especially those requiring the use of a mobility device.

Customers should tell the driver if they need to use the ramp or kneeling feature to get on or off the bus.

If You Are a Wheelchair User

Wheelchair brakes must be in good working order at the time you board a bus. This requirement is for your safety during operation of the lift and during the ride.

If you are able to transfer yourself to a regular bus seat, you may do so. The Wheels driver will secure your chair in a wheelchair station. It is your option whether to remain in your wheelchair, however, it is recommended you sit in a regular bus seat if possible.

Wheelchair Size Accomodations

ADA standards require that passenger lifts accommodate wheelchairs measuring up to 30 inches wide by 48 inches long, at a level of two inches above the ground, and weighing no more than 600 pounds when occupied. Wheels buses may not be able to accommodate wheelchairs exceeding these standards.

How to Board in a Wheelchair

When the bus stops at the curb, position your wheelchair approximately six feet from the wheelchair accessible doorway. You are required to have functioning brakes on your wheelchair and encouraged to wear a lap/seat belt. Wheelchair foot rests should be set at a minimum of four inches to ensure clearance once inside a vehicle and to avoid ground contact upon departure.

Before the Wheels driver operates the wheelchair lift, ambulatory passengers will get on and off the bus.

AFTER the Wheels driver lowers the lift or ramp all the way to the ground, position your chair directly onto the ramp and move slowly to the wheelchair station located behind the driver. The driver will raise the regular passenger seats to expose the wheelchair station and assist you in positioning your chair in the wheelchair station space. The driver will secure the wheelchair to the floor with the tie-downs.

Buses are also equipped with tether straps for wheelchair passengers. Tether straps increase accessibility of Wheels buses to individuals using all types of mobility aids and assist drivers in performing safe and proper securing of wheelchairs.

How to Get Off the Bus in a Wheelchair

Generally, leaving the bus is just the reverse of boarding. Do not attempt to remove the tie-downs on your own; the driver will remove them after stopping the bus.

When leaving the bus, the driver will position the lift/ramp for your departure. The chair brakes must be applied BEFORE the ramp descends. Once the ramp has been lowered completely and the safety flap lowers, release the brakes and proceed onto the sidewalk.

Safety Strapes for Mobility Devices

Because safety is our priority, Wheels has developed a marking and tethering program to assist people using Wheels buses to ride safely by ensuring that mobility devices (manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs) designed and sold for people with disabilities) are properly secured in the bus.

See the Safety Strapes for Mobility Devices [PDF] online for more information.