If you or someone you know has a disability or some other impairment to their mobility, it can be challenging to find the best vehicle for their requirements.
Many wheelchair users opt for wheelchair vans as a way to travel from point A to point B; these vehicles allow them to safely travel long distances as either a passenger, or as the vehicle driver transporting their equipment (and any other passengers) to the destination.
Almost any vehicle can be equipped with a lift to make it wheelchair accessible, but a wheelchair van is different because it allows the wheelchair user to either be a passenger, or the driver.
Being Evaluated For A Wheelchair Van
Before a wheelchair user can legally drive a wheelchair van, they will need to achieve the appropriate driver’s license by undergoing an assessment. There are specific evaluation facilities set up to perform these assessments and determine the unique requirements of the wheelchair user. They will even suggest the best van for that driver.
The evaluation will assess the wheelchair user’s hearing and vision, mental acuity, the ability to make quick decisions, cognitive skills, and the person’s ability to move out of the wheelchair into the wheelchair van, and to manoeuvre the chair in and out of the van with them.
There are many devices that can assist the disabled in using wheelchair vans. For example, a wheelchair lift will enable someone who would otherwise be unable to do so, to transfer the chair into the van.
Wheelchair vans are very expensive, but many manufacturers offer financial assistance to those who would not be able to afford them without help. An online search of wheelchair van manufacturing companies will provide you with information about their financial assistance programs, while some non-profit groups offer grants toward the purchase of wheelchair vans.
If your budget is your main concern, consider a less expensive pre-owned minivan modified so that a wheelchair can be carried onto it and safely secured, and only buy from a respected vendor.
Regardless of your final decision, paying for an extended warranty at the time of your purchase may save you significant money on repairs down the line.
Alternatively, consider your transport needs and assess how often you will need to travel, and for how far.
If you decide that you will only need to travel extended distances on rare occasions, then it will likely work out more affordable for you to use specialist wheelchair van taxi services (like BeXpress, for example) for your everyday transport needs, while renting a wheelchair van appropriate for your requirements from a vehicle hire outlet whenever you need to make extended or overnight journeys.