Segway 'pleased' with BART decision

August 15, 2008 12:50:32 PM PDT
A spokesman for Segway Inc. said today that the company is "very pleased" that Bay Area Rapid Transit district directors didn't ban the use of Segways and other "electric personal assistive mobility devices" inside stations.

In the wake of several recent incidents in which out-of-control Segways caused problems at BART stations, the transit agency's staff had proposed limiting the use of mobility devices to people with disabilities and barring able-bodied passengers from bringing the devices into BART stations.

But BART directors voted unanimously on Thursday to allow anyone to bring Segways on board once they obtain a free permit.

However, passengers without disabilities can only bring their devices onto platforms and trains during off-peak hours and won't be allowed in the first car, which is the same policy that's in place for passengers with bicycles.

Spokesman Matt Dailida, based at Segway's headquarters in Bedford, N.H., said today that a small number of people are using Segways to commute to work and using Segways as well as public transportation as part of their goal of commuting without releasing any emissions into the air.

Dailida said, "It's up to our owners to make sure their Segways are used safely and soundly and don't cause additional incidents."

In the most serious incident involving a Segway, in June a person at the 24th Street/Mission station in San Francisco lost control of his device and jumped off.

The Segway kept running and then rolled off the platform and onto the tracks, where it was hit by a train.

No one was injured and the train wasn't damaged, but the accident caused delays and forced the train to be taken out of service.

BART Board President Gail Murray said in a statement, "The reason why we are regulating the riding of Segways in the station area, especially on platforms, is for safety reasons."

Murray said, "We realize the policy does put some restrictions on those with disabilities, but we took the advice of BART's accessibility task force to develop a policy that balances safety for all of our passengers as well as accessibility for those with disabilities."

BART will start issuing permits next Wednesday and it may take two weeks for applicants to receive one.


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