I’m a proud member of the Muscular Dystrophy Trailblazers, which is a network of young disabled campaigners. One of our campaigns is to improve the accessibility of public transport. So it was exciting when they asked me to attend an open day with Lothian Buses in Edinburgh to see a demo of a brand new piece of equipment installed on one of their buses.
Changing the way wheelchair users access public transport
As a wheelchair user, I do tend to favour my Motability car over using public transport. The main reason for this being I’ve always felt unsafe on trains and buses because there is no way of securing my heavy powered wheelchair from moving and sliding around.
The new piece of equipment called Quantum by Q’Straint works by electronically locking wheelchairs in place with a simple touch or swipe of a button. It doesn’t require much effort to activate the button, but if like myself, you struggle to lift your arms up then the bus driver is more than happy to activate the system for you from the driver’s seat if you let them know.
Once activated the system only takes around 25 seconds for the rubber arms to grip hold and secure your wheelchair in place. It’s quick, discreet and doesn’t disturb the driver or other passengers. I instantly felt safe and secure even when the bus turned around corners, which is normally when I’d feel my wheelchair move the most. Simply press the button again when you reach your stop to release the arms.
It felt good to be able to relax and enjoy the journey, knowing that I wasn’t going to move anywhere or tip over, rather than feeling tense and anticipating every bump and turn on the road.
Quantum leaps ahead for safety
During the demo, we also tried the same journey without using Quantum and the difference was like night and day. I felt every bump and even though the bus was only doing 10 mph, my wheelchair was visibly moving around, which made me nervous.
Like most buses, I had to travel backwards, which thankfully doesn’t affect me. Some wheelchair users who don’t like to be rear-facing when travelling may find they don’t experience any travel sickness when secured by Quantum because they aren’t moving or tipping over at all. The usually added motion is gone as you’re completely held tight allowing you to enjoy a much smoother ride.
The Quantum Wheelchair Securement System will make a huge difference and improve experiences of using public transport for disabled people. It will also come in handy during bad weather when our wheels and the bus floors are wet and slippery. No more sliding about, eliminating the risk of injuring ourselves and others.
The future of public transport
I left the demo with a more confident outlook on public transport and will definitely use buses again if they are fitted with the Quantum Securement System.
It was amazing to get a glimpse into the future of public transport and hopefully it will become available on all public transport in the near future.
*Quantum is currently installed and on trial on two buses, East Yorkshire (EYMS) and Lothian Buses. Contact EYMS and Lothian Buses for more info on which bus routes Quantum is operating. Also, check out the great work Muscular Dystrophy Trailblazers are doing HERE.
Thanks again to Lothian Buses for having us at their open day and for the goodies. Can’t wait to go on one of the Edinburgh Bus Tours. You can watch Quantum in action HERE.
What do you think of Quantum? Would it encourage you to use public transport more?