eliminate the need for stepwells as well as the use of wheelchair lifts. Te use of ramps on these buses are usually at a relatively low angle for greater access for unassisted mobility. In turn, these buses can make it much easier for wheelchair occupants to access the bus, and they can enhance the Least

Restrictive Environment for students with disabilities, as is called for by the Individuals with Disabilities Act. Tey can also reduce instances of discrimina- tion by providing a better experience for students as they are positioned towards the front of the bus, rather than the rear as accustomed.

All low-floor buses have floors above the

rear axle raised nearly 10 inches to accom- modate the engine, transmission, drive shaft and differential spaces. IC Bus unveiled a low-floor concept

Guaranteed not to miss the bus for 7 years.

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vechicle a decade ago. It was “more of an out-of-the-box idea that could be formed to benefit specials needs students,” said Himanshu Angolkar, chief engineer and bus product specialist for Navistar. Currently there are no plans for IC Bus to re-launch a low-floor bus, as “the existing platform has been working very well,” he added. While low-floor buses bring benefits to disabled students, they also have their share of disadvantages for student transportion. For example, these options tend to cost twice as much as regular school buses. Installing lifts can be more cost-effective for school districts. Additionally, sloped road surfaces such as driveways pose issues. “(Low-floor buses) may be effective for one industry, but it might not lend itself for a special needs bus,” said Angolkar, add- ing that these types of buses are often not equipped to handle multiple wheelchairs compared to regular school buses. Titan Bus Company, LLC announced it is looking to fill “a niche” in the Type-A market by building a flat-floor school bus on the GM and Ford E-Series chassis for special education routes, said Brian Barrington, founder and vice president of Titan Bus. He said the Titan flat-floor bus will dis- tinguish itself by having the floor rise to the same plane as the wheel house. A flat-floor option brings flexibility special needs routes, he added. “Te market demands buses available with max wheel chair capability. Te only way to do that is by going with a flat floor,” said Barrington. However, Barrington added that “until somebody makes a chassis where it can be converted into a school bus I don’t believe (low-floor buses) will be seen in the future.” Te Titan Bus Company will display the

new bus line at the STN EXPO tradeshow this summer in Reno, Nevada in July, and will have a flat-floor bus ready for the sum- mer market. ●

26 School Transportation News • MAY 2017


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