NOVA Articulated Bus Wheelchair Issues Report

(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

complete agreement.

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

next stop.

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

follow the

drivers instructions.

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

serious situation.

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

my chair.

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

disabled person.

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..


Economical Insurance refuses to pay for Wheelchair taxi

Economical Insurance refuses to pay for my Wheelchair taxis

below you will find a picture of the fax I sent out to Economical Insurance and other concerned


Then below that you will find a  scan of an email I received that was sent to my lawyer from

Economical insurance.



Now my lawyer requests that I send Ruth Anne Goodrick a copy of just the prescription.

I indicated to her(lawyer) that I sent this above copy of the fax to Ecenomical

insurance and that I want my note to go with the prescription…

I will not send just the prescription by itself…

So Ruth Anne requested for more information from my doctors but is not willing to pay the doctors

to provide this information.

You do the math..How can I get letters and reports when no one wants to pay the doctors to do them.

The public health care system of Nova Scotia also will not pay for any letters or reports from my doctors.

Metro Transit Deliberately Blocks Wheelchair Access – See Pictures


please see this related article.

Ten years and Halifax Metro Transit still wont fix these bus stops

Report by Daniel J Towsey

February 4th 2011

I am writing this report and posting it to my Internet wheelchair rights websites

to serve as a public notice and record.

I will provide you with some background information as to how this situation

has been knowingly going on.

First I need to explain the significance and importance about this bus stop and

people in wheelchairs.

This bus shelter is the stop just before the main bus terminal at the bridge in

Dartmouth (Halifax). So this bus stop serves a very large

part of Dartmouth and many different bus routes.

Metro transit refuses to allow any wheelchair user to access any buses at the

bridge terminal. Claiming that the bus terminal is not

level and that the slope is to steep.

This is absolutely false. If you were to look at the bus terminal at Penhorn Mall

where wheelchair users are permitted, you would

discover that it has a very steep incline and does not prevent wheelchair users.

If you look you will discover that the bridge terminal where the buses stop has

almost no slope at all and that any wheelchair user

can easily access any bus while on the platform.

But metro transit refuses to arrange it so the wheelchair designated routes pull

up to the platform. Instead they stop in the driveway

away from the elevated platform.

Now they claim that those buses are to high off the ground to safely lower their

ramps because the incline to the ramp would be to

steep. So why not have the designated wheelchair access buses pull up up to

the elevated platform?

But again every time I communicate with metro transit my problems and offer

solutions they just keep making excuses and absolutely

refuse to provide any solutions.

Then they claim that the bridge terminal shelter is to small and narrow and does

not have enough room for the buses to drop the ramps.

Again go look at the Perhorm terminal. It has the same dimensions and also has

the same bus shelters.

So why is it that I can manage to get on and off buses there and not at the bridge
terminal? Because metro transit just stubbornly

refuses to listen to me and anyone else in a wheelchair.

My being blocked from accessing buses at the bridge prevents me from having

access to most of Halifax bus routes and also most

important bus routes in Dartmouth.

So now Metro transit claims that some routes are designated as wheelchair

access routes and that all other bus routes wheelchair

users are not permitted to us them.

This eliminates my access to more then half the bus routes.

Metro transit claims that the designated wheelchair routes have every bus stop

on that route accessible for wheelchairs.

Again that is not true. If it were I would be able to access these designated

route at the bridge terminal.

Another note. They have a major Halifax wheelchair designated route

number one. With the new Nova articulated buses.

The Nova buses are not accessible for wheelchair users as they only us two

tie downs attached to the front of my chair

and I have to back into a spot facing back wards and behind me their is a

padded wall that is supposed to brace the chair

in the event of a sudden stop.

This padded wall hit my headrest post and pushes it against the back of my head.

So the number one route is also not accessible and again metro transit cares not

to hear me or to remedy this serious problem.

I have told them that my chair needs to face forward so I can see where I am

going and know when to ring the bell.

I also explained that my seven hundred pound chair needs to be secure safely to the floor with the four anchor points and not

just two which would allow my chair to slide sideways on the wet (snow & rain) floor.

So now I will show you some pictures of how metro transit clears bus stops.

I believe that they have done this deliberately because they know I need to use this stop and that I have filed a human rights

complaint against metro transit.

These four pictures are self explanatory with the notes on them.





Below you will see a couple of images from January that shows they never clear these bus stops.



This report accompanies my February 4th 2011 HRM complaint reference number 4659532.

Where I was advised that Dave Beaudreau of Metro transit will be following up and contacting me on this snow issue.

I am also emailing this report to Metro Transit at

So that they can receive the pictures.

This article will also be posted at

This is Daniel J Towsey's Blog to Accompany our other wheelchair rights sites

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