APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Valley Transit unveiled a new bus Thursday that allows passengers with disabilities more independence.
Appleton Alderman Joe Martin boards a Valley Transit bus to demonstrate an automated system for locking wheelchairs in place (WBAY photo)
The bus has new technology that lets riders in wheelchairs secure themselves in less than 30 seconds with the push of a button instead of relying on the bus driver to strap them in with four belts.
Passengers helped show off the system to the media.
"For me, it's freedom," city alderman Joe Martin, who uses a wheelchair, said. "It's freedom to come and go as I please. And the nice thing about being rear facing is that I can carry a conversation with people who are on the bus."
"People are on and off, so making it quicker and easier, less invasive, this is what this allows, and again it goes back to Joe saying this is freedom for him," Ron McDonald, Valley Transit general manager, said.
Valley Transit says there is only one bus with the Q'Straint technology right now. It runs on Route 20 from downtown Appleton to Kaukauna.
It plans to have two more buses in March and a total of 10 by Labor Day, paid for with the help of grant money. The goal is to eventually have all the Valley Transit buses equipped with this technology.