Metro Magazine

AUG 2014

Magazine serving the bus and rail transit & motorcoach operations since 1904

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64 < m ETRO m AGAZINE AUGUST 2014 sibility gives them a better sense of in- dependence. THE PRESENT To day, ARB O C manufactures 500 buses per year and has three diferent lines of low-foor vehicles: the Spirit of Mobility, the Spirit of Freedom and the new Spirit of Liberty. Before the end of the year, ARBOC will ship its 2000th bus. With this rapid success, the com- pany is evaluating ways to grow and ex- pand while continuing to provide ac- cessibility for everyone. A R B O C h a s m a d e s i g n i f i c a n t re - designs to both the Spirit of Mobility and the Spirit of Freedom lines to be launched for the 2015 year. These are to include new style front fiberglass caps and a new ABS interior to match, made by the automotive design house, Tang ent D e sig ns. Plus, the compa - ny is changing the suspension to one created by Reyco Granning, which of- fers nationally recognized suspension packages. A d d i t i o n a l l y , A R B O C p a r t n e r e d with Freightliner Custom Chassis to build an exclusive chassis for the Lib- erty model. Te chassis frame rails for the Mobility and Freedom products are Since 2008, ARBOC Specialty Vehicles has created an entirely new market by creating low-foor small cutaway buses. Originally formed as ARBOC Mobility LLC, this Middlebury, Ind.-based low- foor vehicle company merged with All American Specialty Vehicles in 2011 to create ARBOC Specialty Vehicles, a sin- gle entity that handles the manufactur- ing, engineering, marketing and sales of their unique technology. THE MARKET NEED Don Roberts, president/CEO of AR- BOC Specialty Vehicles, explains the idea behind the company was to pro- vide accessibility for passengers of all abilities. He says that looking back over the transit bus history, every available option was high-foor, even in big city buses. Over time, large transit buses transitioned to low-floor options, but there was still nothing in the small cut- away business that allowed for low- foor options. Tis made it impossible for people in wheelchairs to load or un- load themselves. "Accessibility for people in wheel- chairs used to mean they had to be put on a lift, put up in the air and pushed inside. Tis puts them in a spotlight, so to speak," Roberts says. "Te other pas- sengers would see them sitting there waiting to be loaded. If it's raining out- side or it's snowing or it's cold or it's hot, they are out there." After extensive market research, AR- B O C knew the ne e d was there. Ken Becker, ARBO C's sales manager, ex- plains that as the baby boomer genera- tion ages, there is a bigger demand for accessibility for passengers with walk- ing aids and wheelchairs that will just keep growing — there are 57 million people with disabilities in the U.S., and 92% of all large transit buses are now ramp accessible. It made perfect sense for there to be a cutaway product devel- oped in the same vein. The solution was simple, but also, complex. With an ingenious patented design by ARBO C Founder Jim Bar- tel, Roberts explains that by adding a ramp to the interior of the small cut- away bus, it moves people in wheel- chairs into the front as well as the back of the bus. ARBOC refers to this new range of mobility as random access. The result is a significantly decreased load time and an option for people us- ing wheelchairs, scooters or electric chairs to load themselves. This acces- supplier spotlight Accessibility, mobility and philanthropy are the spirit of ARBOC BY KELSEY NOLAN, ASSISTANT EDITOR Today, ARBOC manufactures 500 buses per year and has three diferent lines of low- foor vehicles: The Spirit of Mobility, The Spirit of Freedom and the new Spirit of Liberty.

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