A motion to install new wheelchair securement systems as well as able-bodied passenger safety measures to 153 Long Beach Transit coaches was carried out by the Long Beach Transit (LBT) Board on Monday.

The reconfiguration will be done with 4ONE Q’POD systems—forward-facing wheelchair securement stations—making wheelchair securement safer, reducing risk of injury liability and saving over two minutes on boarding and departure times.

The 70 remaining coaches are to be replaced in two years and are required to have the flip-up seats locked from use.

The three aspects of the Q’POD system include a barrier with integrated wheelchair securement, integrated passenger flip seats and a three-point wheelchair securement system.

“It looks like a majority of the industry is going this way,” Roland Cruz, Executive Director and Vice President of Maintenance and Facilities at LBT, said.

An issue with safety regarding previous wheelchair-securement systems was noted when New Flyer Industries, a well-known bus manufacturer, alerted the transit industry about three separate incidences involving passengers who sustained extensive injuries after being propelled forward from their forward-facing, flip-up seats. It was suggested that this was due to a lack of barrier in front of the seats.

The safety system is expected to be in every LBT coach by 2017 and will be required of every new coach. In the interim, the current flip-up seats will be permanently locked up.

Cost of the installation is projected to cost $1.6M.