Buying a handicap accessible vehicle can be a major financial commitment, so it’s understandable that you may need to rely on other modes of transportation until you can purchase your own minivan, car, truck or SUV.
Luckily, if you don’t have the convenience of owning a handicap accessible vehicle, or have a caretaker to assist with transportation, there are other options available to help preserve your mobility.
Considered Uber’s most direct competition, Lyft has accessible vehicle services (including wheelchair-accessible and other mobility vehicles) that riders can call on when needed. Lyft operates similarly to Uber with its own mobile app interface that you can use to summon rides and communicate with potential drivers.
Currently, Lyft operates in about 65 cities, in 30 countries, which is a considerably smaller range than Uber, so make sure your area is included in the list before attempting to search for rides.
Autonomous Ride Sharing
Autonomous vehicle technology has been on the rise lately, which eliminates the need for a driver, instead relying on a complex series of algorithms and navigation systems to deliver an unmanned vehicle to your location.
Companies like Waymo have services established in large metropolitan areas, including San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and more. Autonomous ride sharing, although limited in availability, makes up for it by being accommodating to riders by providing accessible vehicles and additional services to help those who need it most.
Renting An Accessible Vehicle
Should you find yourself in a situation where you would like to rent a wheelchair accessible vehicle and keep it for a few days for a special trip, check with your local NMEDA mobility dealer for rates and availability.
Light Rail, or Speed Rail
With the advent of Elon Musk’s “Hyperloop” fast-transport system, existing services are starting to upgrade their rail routes to be more inclusive for people living with disabilities. This means everything from wider cars and wheelchair lifts, to ticket discounts.
Some light rail systems are part of the public transport system, which makes it easier to keep track of routes and schedules. You can even request concierge services at some stations to help with boarding and disembarking, if needed.
In big cities, public transportation systems are a option for those trying to save money while still being independent. Aside from certain buses being retrofitted with wheelchair lifts, depending on your city’s transportation system, you can also summon specialized vans for personalized pick up and drop off to wherever you need to go.
One downside to using public transportation is that it may not be the most reliable, but with regularly scheduled routes, it may help you out in a pinch.
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible car, truck or van, please consider one of our Quality Assurance Program mobility equipment dealers.