LAX'S New Special Assistance Vehicle Serves Travelers With Disabilities
4/9/02 3:31 PM
Source: Business Wire

LOS ANGELES--(BW HealthWire)--April 9, 2002--Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has introduced a new special assistance vehicle to transport passengers with disabilities or special needs between passenger terminals and remote gates located on the airport's west end.

Due to the increasing volume of flights and shortage of boarding gates, LAX is accommodating passengers with disabilities on flights assigned to the airport's remote gates, with this $240,000 Special Assistance Vehicle. Air carriers request the special assistance vehicle several times a month. At the beginning of this year from January 1 through March 31, the vehicle was requested 48 times.

In addition to providing transportation to individuals with disabilities, the special assistance vehicle is used to transport passengers on stretchers, organ transplant patients and seniors with specially equipped wheelchairs. Several air carriers are equipped to accommodate passengers with these types of medical needs.

"As a customer-oriented facility concerned about meeting the special needs of passengers with disabilities, LAX continually strives to provide the latest equipment and the most fitting accommodations for air travelers once they arrive at the airport," said Larry Rolon, coordinator of LAX's Americans with Disabilities Act program. "This service is another tool available to the airlines and their passengers any time of the day, seven days a week."

To ensure safety and easy access, travelers enter the passenger compartment of the vehicle from the front and exit from the rear. The special assistance vehicle is parked directly beside the aircraft and the passenger compartment is raised to the level of the aircraft's door. Its safety features include a front platform that can pivot and self-adjust to eliminate gaps between the aircraft and the vehicle, and it also comes with a camera and microphone set for communications between the driver and the lift operator.

The vehicle can accommodate up to 21 passengers or seven wheelchairs. It is also equipped with electrical outlets to power various types of medical equipment. For light-sensitive passengers, the compartment's indoor lights can easily be dimmed to a comfortable level.

In addition to the special assistance vehicle, LAX offers a free standby van service to individuals with disabilities for service to and from economy Parking Lot C, or between the terminals. The van is equipped with a hydraulic wheelchair lift and is available upon request seven days a week from 5 a.m. to 3 a.m. by calling (310) 646-6402 or (310) 646-8021. Also, LAX Shuttle buses that transport passengers from economy Parking Lots B and C to the terminals, as well as the Van Nuys FlyAway buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts.

Note to Editors: Photos are available from LAX Public Relations by calling (310) 646-5260.