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Choosing and Funding A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

October 19, 2012

This is a guest post by Jag Ture.

Wheelchair accessible vehicles are an increasingly common sight on our roads.  There is now a very wide variety of them, all adapted to account for a particular need.  That in itself is causing some difficulty though, as there is almost too much choice – the number of options can be overwhelming.  In this article, we’ll examine some of the considerations, to help you decide what is most important to you.  Later, we’ll look at ways of funding the purchase, including wheelchair accessible vehicle contract hire.


Firstly, consider how the vehicle is to be accessed; factors like space limitations when boarding at the location where it is usually parked should be considered here.  For example, it may be that access at the rear of the vehicle is not possible because there isn’t enough room behind to lower a ramp or lift, or if there isn’t much pavement space a side access door may not be suitable.


Secondly, consider the needs of passengers or whether cargo space is required.  These will affect the interior layout of the vehicle and therefore the options available for access.  Carrying passengers will mean that seats have to be retained for able bodied passengers, or removed if the passenger is to be seated in a wheelchair.


All the above should enable you to narrow down the choices to a handful of suitable vehicles.  Once you have the basics right, further amendments can be made to meet the users own specific requirements.


Now you have decided on a vehicle, you need to decide how to pay for it.  A wheelchair ready vehicle will obviously cost more than the equivalent base vehicle; this may influence the way it is paid for. Businesses who require such vehicles have traditionally had the option to buy the vehicle outright (which can leave a hole in their finances), or to take out a credit agreement (which will cost more because of the interest on the loan).


Lately, they have also been able to choose wheelchair accessible vehicle contract hire, which allows them to lease a vehicle long term (typically several years).  The lease payments cover the hire of the vehicle and can also be extended to cover servicing and breakdown cover, while at the end of the contract the vehicle is just handed back, meaning no worries about disposal of a depreciated asset.

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