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FRANK M. HENRY
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
AMERICAN BUS ASSOCIATION
SUBCOMMITTEE ON SURFACE TRANSPORTATION
COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS AND TRANSPORTATION
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
HONORABLE NORMAN Y. MINETA, CHAIRMAN
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 1989
2167 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING
American Bus Association
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:
My name is Frank M. Henry. I am the president of Frank Martz
Coach Company of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and chairman of the board of the American Bus Association (ABA). I appreciate this opportunity to present the views of the Association on the proposed Americans With Disabilities Act of 1989.
ABA is the national trade association for the intercity bus industry. The Association's 700 bus operator members range in
size from operators of two or three buses to Greyhound Lines, Inc., which has a fleet of some 4,000 buses. A few members of ABA provide only scheduled, regular-route service; several hundred members, like three of my own companies, provide both regular-route service and tour services; and the remaining 500 or so members are engaged exclusively in charter and tour operations.
My companies, Frank Martz Coach Company, Gray Line of
Washington, D.C. and Gulf Coast/Gray Line in St. Petersburg, Florida rely heavily on scheduled service and tour operations. Any service that depends on individual fares, such as regular route and special operations tours, price their trips so that
they are divided among the number of seats available on the bus.
The reduction of seats and added operating costs, which are
proposed in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1989, would make regular route lines unprofitable in most areas and would
thus cause the service to be curtailed.
Tour prices would be
increased to a point where many of the now offered tours would be
In too expensive for those on retirement or restricted incomes. order to continue these services the industry would require heavy
subsidies from the federal government to stay in business.
We believe all Americans should be able to use all of the transportation services offered by the intercity bus industry. With but one exception, that right is honored by the industry
Disabled Americans who are
confined to wheelchairs should
have access to intercity buses.
That objective should be
achieved in a way that does not destroy a substantial part of the
intercity bus system.
Disabled Americans in wheelchairs should be able to utilize all types of intercity bus service. That right can be accorded without installing lifts on all of the intercity coaches of all intercity bus operators.
Section 304 of the Senate-passed bill would require
wheelchair lifts to be installed within six or seven years on new
vehicles operated by intercity bus companies who provide regularroute and charter services. Such service is provided today in
approximately 20,000 intercity coaches.
Intercity bus operators attempt to replace 10 percent of their fleets each year. The estimated cost of lift installation ranges from approximately $10,000 per bus, the cost of lifts on coaches used in suburban commuter service by the Denver RTD, to $35,000, the present cost of lifts installed on intercity buses by Motor Coach Industries, Inc. Thus, the industry's total annual cost for installing lifts on 20,000 buses would range from a low of $20 million to a high of $70 million. Average annual
revenue after expenses but before income taxes (net operating income) for the entire industry in the five-year period, 1982-86, was only $41.5 million. 1
Lift installation is not the only cost involved.
of the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources indicates
that space must be reserved in the bus for at least two
wheelchairs. This would result in the permanent loss of two to
four revenue seats.
Federal Subsidies for Passenger Transportation, 1960-1988:
At page 73 of its report, the Senate committee stated that
it expects the Department of Transportation to
develop regulations which require that
Wheelchair access to restrooms or
buses may be
technologically feasible. The restroom would have to be enlarged to accommodate wheelchairs, thus reducing seating capacity. And, if access were required from anywhere in the bus, an entire row of seats would have to be removed to make the aisle
wide enough. Thus, restroom accessibility does not appear to be
In sum, the mandatory lift requirement with its attendant costs including installation, seat loss, and possible package express loss would spell the end of intercity bus service in the United States. Rural communities, now served only by intercity bus, would have no public transportation available. Customers now served, many of whom are young, old, and poor and who have no other means of transportation, would be stranded.
There is no justification for the sledgehammer approach taken in section 304 of the Senate bill. ABA is willing to