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OSPI to Change to Bus Aisle Width Standards
Proposal would reduce width of bus aisles equipped with power lifts

OLYMPIA — April 6, 2012 — The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is holding a public meeting to explain proposed changes in the width of some school bus aisles.

The meeting will be held at 10 a.m. in the Brouillet Conference Room in the OSPI building in Olympia on May 3, 2012. The proposed change will bring the Washington State School Bus Specifications into alignment with the standards established by the National Congress on School Transportation. Those standards read:

All school buses equipped with a power lift shall provide a minimum 30-inch pathway leading from any wheelchair position to at least one 30 inches wide emergency exit door. A wheelchair securement position shall never be located directly in front of (blocking) a power lift door location.

Current Washington State School Bus Specifications read:

Buses equipped with wheelchair/mobility aid lifts shall have aisles between seat bottoms, between seats and wheelchair/mobility aid positions, or between stanchions at least 30 inches in width. Aisles between wheelchair/mobility aids shall be at least 20 inches in width.

Buses without power lifts must maintain at least a 12-inch aisle. Those with lifts, however, currently must maintain at least a 30-inch aisle. The proposed change would allow, but not require, a 12-inch-minimum aisle between the wheelchair securement position and the front service door.

The School Bus Equipment Committee, which assists OSPI in the development of school bus specifications, recommended the change. It would give districts the ability to expand the bus seating for buses with power lifts, which will let more students using mobility aids to be included with the general student population on school bus routes, field trips and extra-curricular trips.

The reduced aisle width may result in some additional difficulty in accessing the service door and any other emergency exit (besides the one required under national standards) during emergency situations. The committee felt that the overall benefit to those students requiring wheelchairs or mobility aids was positive compared to the minimal increased risk during potential emergencies.

Comments on this proposed change may be sent by email to or by mail to:

Allan J Jones
Director of Student Transportation
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
PO Box 47200
Olympia WA 98504-7200

The public hearing is required in accordance with Washington Administrative Code 392-143-015.


About OSPI
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.

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Nathan Olson
OSPI Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015

The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

Communications Manager
Nathan Olson
(360) 725-6015


   Updated 4/23/2013

Old Capitol Building, PO Box 47200, 600 Washington St. S.E., Olympia, WA  98504-7200  360-725-6000  TTY 360-664-3631
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