Public Safety and Shuttle Services rolled out new shuttles at the beginning of the semester with the capacity for two wheelchairs on each shuttle, a wheelchair lift and a new design.
The two wheelchair-accessible shuttles comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirement that any vehicle made after 1992 that follows a fixed route and has a capacity of more than 16 people must be equipped with a lift, or equivalent service must be provided.
Creighton formerly met this requirement by providing alternative, on-demand transportation services using the smaller shuttle, typically used for JayRide, which is equipped with a wheelchair lift.
The new shuttles allow people using wheelchairs to ride the East, West and combined shuttle schedules. On demand shuttles will still be available by calling Public Safety dispatch.
Michael Reiner, the senior director of Public Safety, said that the change was made to comply with the legal requirements of the ADA, as well as to improve the transportation options for students using wheelchairs.
“More importantly, we want to be able to provide all of our students with safe, reliable transportation within the budget that we have—give the most service for the dollars we invest,” Reiner said.
Because they weren’t considered a planned budget expense, the new shuttles were paid for using general capital funds from the university. The funding was requested last January, and the shuttles were ordered once it was approved in the spring.
Public Safety worked with transportation director Mark Simanek and Shuttle Services fleet coordinator Mike Willey to identify the correct vehicle type, license and register the vehicles, and administer training for the drivers before the semester began in January.
The new shuttles have front-facing seats with lower seat backs, which improves visibility for the driver, Willey said. They seat 22 students with both wheelchair docks in use and 24 passengers when not in use.
The wheelchair lift folds out of the back of the vehicle and is raised and lowered using a controller. The wheelchair is then secured inside.
If someone using a wheelchair needs to ride the shuttle during peak times throughout the day, Simanek said that the drivers are instructed to contact him or Public Safety to pick them up using the smaller, on demand shuttle, which can also be driven by Public Safety officers. This helps them remain on their fixed 20-minute route.
Students who use the wheelchair lift can also send their schedules to Public Safety ahead of time to arrange pick-ups.
The shuttles also have new decals, designed by University Communications and Marketing.