Canada Adopts New Standard for Wheelchair Accessible School Buses

The Canadian Standards Association has published a new edition of the D250-12 standard, which introduces new requirements for school buses designed to be wheelchair accessible.

The new standard will replace the current D250-07 standard, and when D250-12 is finalized, it will be adopted as both a manufacturing standard and in-service maintenance and performance standard in most provinces and territories of Canada for school buses manufactured on or after the date of adoption.

The Ontario School Bus Association clarified that the standard does not require all new school buses to be accessible, but if a school bus is manufactured as an accessible bus, it must meet the standard. OSBA told STN the accessibility requirements were taken from CSA D409, “Vehicles for the transportation of persons with physical disabilities.”

“The rationale for including these requirements in D250 was to make it easier for the industry to know which D409 requirements were applicable to the construction of school buses. In addition, the new standard requires a handrail to be located at the service door entrance, and buses must meet a side intrusion test to assess the suitability of new materials used in the construction of the school bus body,” OSBA stated.

Key changes to the current CSA standard are the requirement for side mirrors to have remote control adjustment and accessibility requirements for school buses designed to be wheelchair accessible. According to OSBA, one new requirement calls for a minimum floor space of 27 by 48 inches for each mobility aid. Another is that wheelchair lifts must be at least 29 by 48 inches and have a designed minimum lifting capacity of 600 lbs.

Chapter 7 specifies new requirements related to emergency door exits, aisle width, space requirements, wheelchair securement, lifts, platform dimension, occupant restraints and other components.

OSBA reported in a recent newsletter that the CSA Technical Committee on School Buses has been working on the D250-12 standard for the past two years.

The standard’s new side intrusion test is similar to side intrusion crash standards included in national specs the U.S. passed in 2010 at the National Congress on School Transportation, which was held at the University of Central Missouri.

The ninth edition of the D250-12 standard can be purchased online for $125.