First Ford Transit Passes New York Bus Safety Standards

Martin Romjue
Posted on November 17, 2014
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The 2015 Ford Transit Bus gained in safety appeal and compliance after it passed a critical vehicle inspection by New York regulators on Oct. 31.

A series of required modifications lead to the approval. The model that passed the inspection, a 2015 Ford Transit 350 high-roof long wheelbase EL 14 + 1 passenger, was supplied by Towne Livery in Orchard Park, N.Y., and then delivered to its customer, MTC Limousine & Corporate Coach in Bedford Hills.

The state of New York requires for-hire vehicles that have 10 passengers or more to register as a bus and comply with New York Department of Transportation bus regulations. To get the bus prepared to pass the safety inspection, Towne Livery’s commercial sales manager, David Bastian, brought the Transit to nearby Gorman Enterprises, based in Elma, which specializes in selling and servicing school buses and emergency vehicles. Gorman also offers DOT inspection services.

Because this was the first Transit subject to a full DOT inspection in New York state, a team comprised of members from Ford Motor Company Government Affairs, Towne Ford, MTC Limousine & Coach, and Gorman Enterprises all worked together for about three weeks to get this vehicle prepared for the DOT inspection. The Transit was examined by a state DOT inspector and passed, and then received its Diamond on Oct. 31.

Ford already builds the Transit to fully comply with U.S. Department of Transportation bus standards. However, individual state transportation departments also enforce their own sets of regulations.

“Gorman did a phenomenal job in helping us prepare the vehicle to comply, and help educate all of us with the safety regulations our customers need to abide by,” Bastian told LCT.

One of the key modifications requested by MTC Limousine involved creating a custom rear luggage rack. With input from MTC Limousine, Gorman Enterprises designed and fabricated a high-back custom luggage rack designed to keep luggage pieces from flying into the passenger compartment, and also not interfere with the deployment of the standard side-curtain airbags. “These 2015 Transits have rear-side curtain airbags. You can’t just take regular bulkhead and throw it up now. It has to be custom built in a way that doesn’t interfere with airbag deployment. “Bastian said

Due to the addition of the rack, Gorman Enterprises also installed an escape hatch that meets FMVSS requirements in the roof of the Transit.

New York DOT regulations state that: If a bus is tipped on its side and has obstructions that impede or block access to the rear emergency exits, an escape hatch or alternative emergency exit that meets FMVSS requirements must be installed.  Bastian said “Most operators assume all Transits need an escape hatch, whether there is an obstruction or not, that’s not the case with NY State,” Bastian said. “The requirement of an escape hatch will vary depending on the equipment operators install in the rear to help secure cargo. I recommend that operators check with their local DOT inspectors before they install equipment, shelves or nets in the rear cargo area.”

Among other required safety modifications that Gorman made were: two drive line loops, safety and first aid kits, fire extinguisher, belt cutter, audible backup alarm, and traffic triangles. An exhaust extension required by NY DOT with a 38-degree angle was also installed so exhaust fumes would exit from the lower side of the van instead of underneath. The van also was lettered with Vinyl graphics displaying company name, city vehicle number and NYDOT number.

Ford Motor Co. started deliveries of the 2015 Ford Transit Van in August, and since then limousine operators have been adding them to fleets. The Ford Transit competes with the higher-priced Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in the chauffeured transportation network. Towne Livery is a national livery vehicle dealer.

Related Topics: bus regulations, David Bastian, Ford, Ford Transit Van, luggage space, MTC Limousine, New York operators, New York state regulations, passenger safety, Towne Livery, Trevor Franklin, U.S. Department of Transportation, vehicle safety

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