O F F I C I A L BUSRide Field Test: MCAT: Forward thinking with rear-facing technology Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) provides public transportation to a ridership of over 2 million in Manatee County, serving Bradenton, Ellenton, Palmetto and several Gulf Beach communities along Florida’s West Coast. The MCAT service is now enhanced with the addition of the Q’POD and QUANTUM wheelchair securement systems provided by Q’Straint. With QUANTUM, passengers can back their wheelchairs or scooters into the system, press a button and independently secure themselves. 14 | BUSRIDE.COM | OCTOBER 2018 Securing connections The relationship between the agency and Q’Straint began when Manatee County Government Transit Division Manager William Steele and Manatee County’s Transit Operations Chief Jim Egbert observed the QUANTUM system demonstration at the 2016 Florida Public Transportation Association (FPTA) Conference. “I previously worked at the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) in the Safety, Security and Training Division, and PSTA upgraded to the Q’POD system on a new bus order, and when I moved to MCAT, they were in the process of ordering buses and I noticed they had specified a four-point wheelchair securement system,” Egbert says. “Fortunately, it was not too late to initiate a change order and specify the more advanced Q’POD securement system. I saw the QUANTUM demonstration soon thereafter, and since then, I was looking for every possible way to get the QUANTUM system on our buses. ” Egbert and Steele expressed their interest in learning more, and scheduled Q’Straint for an on-site presentation for both the MCAT leadership team and transit operators. Both the MCAT leadership team and operators asked very specific questions about how the new wheelchair securement technology could benefit operations and passengers. In short, creating a real “win-win” for the community. This very focused and engaged interaction provides the important in-person forum, where any operational concerns are addressed right up front, and not during the pilot program. Understanding how the equipment functions, and addressing the “what-ifs,” put the operations team at ease, and both the Operators and Supervisors saw the program potential from the outset.