One-size does not fit all and therefore you sometimes need to implement special solutions, like the way Sweden has handled its public transport. The public transport has been made as accessible as possible for as many as possible with a lot of different measures. However this will not be enough for some people with special needs and therefore a “Special public transport” service has been added. The service, which we are proud to have been providing for almost thirty years, goes under different names in different countries. In US it is called Paratransit and the service is a civil right for anyone with a disability. In other countries it goes under the term DRT (Demand Responsive Transport) or DART (Dial-a-Ride-Transit), for both of these one normally separate “Open DRT” which is for anyone and “Special needs DRT”. The latter is provided with regular taxis or specially adopted vehicles.
That Sweden is at the forefront of providing these services can be seen by this fact sheet of the 20 largest traffic providers of DRT in the world.
If the chart were to be sorted based on passengers per capita Swedish cities/regions would rank 1, 2, 4 and 6 in the world. Even when just basing it on actual number of trips Stockholm ranks number three in the world providing more than 3.5 million trips per year almost the same as New York who have almost ten times the population.
Common areas of use for our almost 800 vehicles in Stockholm is taking children to school and home, help adults get to work or leisure activities and of course supporting the transport needs of the elderly. Our vehicles are also used to help people of all ages to different health care facilities.
Since the vehicles are used to carry the most precious thing on earth, human beings, we put great focus on two things: Safety and Comfort.
Floor, ceiling and sides of the vehicle are all fitted with extra heat- and sound isolation. The latter with the ambition of making the indoor sound levels and indoor climate resemble a conventional car as much as possible, eradicating the often high sound levels that you get in vans and buses. Furthermore the vehicles is fitted with a rear air suspension system which gives extra travel comfort and allows for lowering of the vehicle for easier access. An extra air condition for the comfort of the passengers is mounted in the ceiling just behind the driver. The ventilation system is also equipped with extra fine filters to assure a good indoor air quality. Windows are covered with dark sun protective film in order to further control the interior climate of the vehicle. Each passenger will have access to a drinks holder and a USB-charger. Vehicles are also equipped with a mini fridge so passengers can be provided with cold and refreshing drinks. Each vehicle is as standard equipped with a transport wheel chair and a stair climber to make the transport to and from the vehicle as safe and comfortable as possible.
Each wheelchair is secured with 4 ISO-approved locking devices in a floor that together with the fittings comply with International standards. The vehicles also comply with United Nations regulations referring to “Uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to safety-belt anchorages, ISOFIX anchorages systems and ISOFIX top together anchorages” as well as the UN regulations regarding “Uniform provisions concerning the approval of vehicles with regard to the seats, their anchorages and any head restraints”. Micro switches prevent that locking the rear ramp can be forgotten. Each vehicle is fitted with a fire extinguisher, belt cutter and window hammer. Drivers are also trained in how to use this and other safety equipment as well being trained in CPR, AED and First-Aid.In order to make it safe and comfortable to enter and exit the vehicle it is fitted with air suspension that also makes it possible to lower the vehicle in three different ways; lower the side, lower the back or lower the whole vehicle. Robust handles and poles to make it easier to access and exit the vehicle are fitted and painted in contrasting colour (yellow) in order to make them easy to localise. Clear marking stripes and extra lighting is also mounted at the various entrances of the vehicle. The anti-slip floor has clear marking stripes to guide the passengers and extra lighting is also mounted at the various entrances of the vehicle. Vehicles are equipped with a video camera surveillance system consisting of four different cameras. Orange flashlights are mounted in the front and back of the vehicle together with red warning lights in order to make others aware when loading and unloading.