Green Bay Metro to offer new device to make wheelchair accessibility easier

QUANTUM uses a bar to secure the wheelchair in place. (WLUK/Gabrielle Mays)

Green Bay Metro wants to make it easier to ride one of its buses for people using wheelchairs or scooters.

"I take the bus here to home to wherever I gotta go. There's always a city bus," said Chad Sobieck.

Chad Sobieck uses Green Bay Metro almost every day.

But getting on and off the bus isn't always convenient, especially if you use a wheelchair or scooter.

Once a person in a mobility device gets on a bus, they have to use what's called the four-point securement system. They'd have to be secured with these straps to the bus.

"They hook it up. They have to tighten it, make sure the front and back straps are completely tight," Sobieck said.

That process takes time and it also requires Sobieck to be completely dependent on the bus driver.

"It's very tedious," he said.

But there's a device called QUANTUM, a rear-facing system, that makes it easier for people using mobility devices to safely secure themselves before the bus takes off.

"This system, the person can get on the bus independently, go to the area, with the touch of a button," said Mike Laidlaw. He's a sales manager at Q'Straint, the company that makes QUANTUM.

"They can secure themselves, somewhere between 13 to 22 seconds," Laidlaw said.

Sobieck says he likes the new device.

"I feel very independent."

When Transit Director Patty Kiewiz saw the QUANTUM at a conference, she thought it would benefit riders in Green Bay.

"My job here for the city is to provide the best service that we can do and give people the means that they need to get to work, to school," she said.

The goal is to have this device installed on one bus within the next couple of months. Q'Straint will cover the cost of the demo device.

Green Bay Metro Transit has plans to purchase four news buses by late summer.

Kiewiz says bus with the test device will be rotated through all of the bus routes so more people will have a chance to try it if the bus they're waiting for happens to be the one.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story quoted Kiewiz saying what the cost of the device would be if installed in the new buses. That information has been removed because the price will vary if/when the device is installed. It will also depend on Green Bay Metro and its decision to approve the installation process.

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