Easier Road For The Disabled

The Department of Transportation plans to announce on Friday that it will require "over-the-road buses" - Greyhound, Trailways, tour buses, and charters - to be equipped to service handicapped passengers, CBS News has learned

CBS News Correspondent Bob Orr reports that, while 60 percent of the nation's "city transit buses" can accommodate wheelchairs, most inter-city buses currently cannot. The proposed changes would bring the buses into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Under the proposed regulations, "over-the-road buses" will have to install wheelchair lifts and provide secure "anchoring" locations for the chairs on the buses.

The regulations will be phased in beginning in the year 2000. Fifty percent of all inter-city buses must be equipped by 2006 and the entire fleet must be equipped by 2012. There is no requirement to retrofit existing buses.

The department says the cost to the industry will be $19-25 million a year, about 38 cents per passenger per trip. After a seven years, this will bring the inter-city busses into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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