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STATEMENT OF

FRANK M. HENRY

CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD

AMERICAN BUS ASSOCIATION

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON SURFACE TRANSPORTATION

OF THE

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.

American Bus Association
1015 15th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
(202) 842-1645

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

today.

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

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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.

The report

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:
Winners, Losers and implications for the Future, Robert R.
Nathan Associates, Inc., May 1989, Appendix C.

At page 73 of its report, the Senate committee stated that

it expects the Department of Transportation to

develop regulations which require that
accessible restrooms be installed on
intercity coaches when technologically
feasible.

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

economically feasible.

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

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