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Sun Tran provides Tucson riders with push-button security for scooter riders
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Sun Tran provides Tucson riders with push-button security for scooter riders

  • Sun Tran offers new scooter securing devices to Tucson bus riders.
    screenshot of Sun Tran videoSun Tran offers new scooter securing devices to Tucson bus riders.

Sun Tran riders using mobility devices, such as scooters or wheelchairs, can travel on many of the system's buses without having to be secured into place with a cumbersome process.

Now all it will take — on 40 percent of the fleet — is the rider pushing a button and snapping a seat belt, with their device secured in place by the automatic arms of the Quantum Automatic Securement system.

Without the technology, it takes effort for drivers to get mobility devices safely secured. Drivers must leave their seats, and flip up a bench seat as the rider rolls into place. The driver then must secure the rider wheelchair or scooter with belts locked into the bus floor, and then return to their own seat to resume driving.

When the rider is ready to get off the bus, the driver must get up, walk back to the rider, unsnap the belt and lower the bench seat.

“This technology promotes independence among our riders with mobility devices who can now be in control of securing themselves,” said Jeff Rock, Sun Tran's assistant general manager. “It also benefits other riders because it shortens the boarding times at bus stops, allowing all riders to get where they need to go quickly and efficiently.”

The technology upgrade was set in motion by a 2021 grant from the Federal Transit Administration. Sun Tran used part of the $600,000 grant to pay for 41 of the devices. The grant also paid for a fare analysis study and the implementation of contactless solutions onboard buses.

Now, Sun Tran uses these Quantum Automatic Securement systems on 79 buses, and it will come standard on new vehicles. The rest of the fleet still uses traditional straps to secure riders needing assistance.

“Initially, we looked at the Quantum devices as a way to allow for social distancing at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Rock said. “Now we are discovering bonus benefits and the survey could uncover even more ways this technology is making life easier for members of our community.”

Riders using the technology are encouraged to provide feedback about their experience to help Sun Tran measure the usefulness of this upgrade. Researchers from the University of Arizona created an online survey that riders can take through the end of September. 

The survey is offered in both English and Spanish and can be accessed with a QR code with a direct link to the survey is available onboard buses.

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