(Halifax Metro Transit)
By Daniel J Towsey
February 23rd 2011
Please see this new highly detailed report.
Halifax Buses Can Not Safely Transport Power Wheelchairs
SPECIAL UPDATE October 17 2012
CBC Radio Raw Interview
Nova Scotia Violates Human Rights Of The Disabled
This is a report pertaining to human rights and people with disabilities
who require the use of a motorized wheelchair to enjoy life and social
Metro Transit has recently acquired new $800,000+ articulated buses
and are running them on what Metro transit terms as wheelchair
designated bus routes, meaning that the buses and all bus stops on
that route are supposed to be wheelchair accessible.
I will make this simple point about accessible bus stops .
It is absolutely not true that the designated wheelchair routes bus
stops are all accessible.
Please be advised that I have recently written and filed a human rights
complaint against halifax metro transit, which is now under
investigation by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.
This complaint pertains to all issues about how metro transit treats
and handles people with disabilities needs
and their basic human rights by showing no dignity and respect to
the disabled. Also that metro transit policies discriminates against
people in wheelchairs.
Issues about the NOVA bus
I recently boarded a NOVA articulated bus with my wheelchair, only
to discover that it was impossible for me to use the bus and would of
been very dangerous to attempt it.
So I will now give you a very accurate and detailed report as to why
the NOVA buses are so dangerous for anyone in an electric
wheelchair and anyone else who maybe nearby in the bus.
I do have to say that I was totally shocked and amazed as to the
stupidity of who ever engineered the dangerous set up for
wheelchairs in the NOVA bus.
I think after you complete the reading of this report you will be in
Wheelchair users are told to pull in to the side and then rear face their
chair and back up against an upholstered rectangular pad that has a
three inch pipe in the back of it going vertical from the floor to the
How would you like to be in a wheelchair and have to face backward
and be facing all the passengers on the bus who are sitting facing
That would be completely undignified and very embarrassing.
Then consider that if you are traveling in an unfamiliar area you will
never know when to signal the driver that you want to get off at the
Also please understand that backing up in an electric wheelchair is
very difficult and hazardous as I can not see behind me and I have to
So I started to back up as instructed. Then I felt a horrible pain as the
supporting frame of my headrest hit the pad and caused my headrest
to be pushed
really hard against the back of my head.
(I trusted the driver and he never thought to look at where the back of
my chair was going.)
This was very painful as I wear a rigid neck brace as I have a
completely broken back, I have spinal injuries to my neck, a third
of my ribs are broken.
I also wear an abdomen brace.
I need to rest my arms on my arm rests to keep my spine straight and
I have a plastic (Bone) prosthesis in my right upper arm.
The bending of my backrest caused my right arm prosthesis to raise
up above my shoulder.The prosthesis is not attached to my shoulder
This was very painful and dangerous to my health.
This prosthesis is not attached to my skeletal structure.
So that when the back of my headrest was pushed against me it also
caused the backrest of my
chair to bend.
If I had not backed up very slowly the plastic backrest of my chair
would of broke and this would of risked my life and created a very
The neck brace prevents my head from tilting in any direction.
So when the chairs head rest pushed against my head it caused my
rigid neck brace to push
down against my chin, shoulders and chest, which then pushed in
and put pressure against my many broken ribs and my broken T8
You see the head rests are bolted near the top of the backrest.
Now consider that my chair with me in it weighs 750lbs, then also
consider the considerable power of my wheelchairs motors.
So I had an extraordinary amount of energy pushing against my
back, neck and head.
The engineers believed that the stop strip along the floor would of
provided a place for the wheelchair to rest against.
But that is not possible as the slanted backrest of wheelchairs can be
further back then the two rear small outboard suspension caster
wheels of the wheelchair.
Then also consider that every wheelchair user has a knapsack
(School bag) hanging off the back of the wheelchair.
Then consider how balky this is when it is full.
So how can someone in a wheelchair go out shopping if they can
not transport their things home in their bag that is hanging on the
How can they back up against that pad?
So then if I had been able to park against that pad the driver said he
was going to attach just one anchor strap to the lower front side of
Again I was shocked as to the stupidity of the engineers.
So that meant that if the bus made a sudden turn and especially if
on a slope. My chair would most definitely slide across the floor and
be pivoted at the
end of that single strap.
Then this would most surely cause the chair to flip onto its side and
risk killing the occupant as the over 500 pounds of chair crushes the
OH please understand that the Halifax area of Nova Scotia has hills
For at least the past twenty years all manufactures of wheelchairs
have provided four welded metal rings for the chair to be held down
securely while in a bus.
Why would the designer of the Nova bus not have known why this is
I will now explain the suspension dynamics of motorized wheelchairs.
Most wheelchairs now have two out board stability caster wheels in
the front and two in the back. Then they have two large main driving
wheels in the center.
The two front caster wheels are rigidly mounted to the frame structure
of the wheelchair where as the two back outboard caster wheels are on
two pivoting control arms that are suspended by shock absorbing
pistons and also load bear spring suspension.
The back control arms have a movement range of up to twelve inches.
The front caster wheels are attached rigidly to prevent the occupant of
the wheelchair from being lurched violently forward every time the
chair is being braked to a stop. It is absolutely necessary for the
front casters to be rigidly attached.
The back casters have to be able to move up and down so that the
wheelchair can go up inclines as at cutouts for sidewalks.
If the back outboard wheels did not do this then the two large drive
wheels would end up loosing contact with the ground as the chair
would then be resting on only the outboard caster wheels.
So now I would like you to understand why it is absolutely necessary
for wheelchairs to face forward while in a moving vehicle.
If a chair were to face backward, then every time the bus would stop
the wheelchair would rock and tilt backward then the front wheels
would be lifted off the floor.
Then the occupant would be crushed against that pad I described
Wheelchairs need to face forward and they need to be solidly
anchored to the floor of the vehicle with four straps made of cargo
strap material and not made of seatbelt material that is designed to
only hold up to three hundred pounds which is well above the weight
of an average human being.
But far below the 500 lbs weight of my wheelchair and then add to
that my 225lbs you get over 700 lbs.
Some people have said that the automobile seatbelt webbing straps
are safe and sufficient to hold down a wheelchair.
That is incorrect. In the event of a horrific accident, if any one strap
shears off then all the others will then shear off. The anchoring of
the wheelchair is only as strong as the weakest point.
Having seven hundred pounds pulling on one anchor strap in a
violent accident would surely tear the seatbelt strap.
What are the odds that an accident would equally disperse the weight
of me and my chair equally on to two straps at exactly the same
time in a violent accident?
Thankfully the buses are very huge and solid. And Metro transit
has excellent drivers.
Side note about other buses that use the hookless straps.
Please consider that drivers will attempt to wrap the straps
around anything they can see on the wheelchair.
This is dangerous as the webbing could be wrapped around sharp
edged steel framing and would cause the straps to tear in the
event of a violent traffic accident.
Often the location the driver choose to wrap around may actually
be too weak to be safe or it may damage the wheelchair itself.
So I say that under no circumstances should an electric wheelchair
ever be not solidly anchored with all four anchor points.
While in a moving vehicle.
Other wise it would be a serious negligence on the part of any public
transit system to allow the NOVA buses to accept wheelchairs
onboard while these buses are in the condition I indicated above.
Remeding the problem would be minimal in cost. Compared to what
a lawsuit against NOVA bus and any municipality that is operating
these buses would cost if someone was injured because the
wheelchair was not secured properly to the bus.
Please note that this report will be published on the internet and
available to anyone to read at any time.
You can contact me at email address below..