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Side Entry vs. Rear Entry Wheelchair Vehicles

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MobilityWorks is often asked about the differences between side and rear entry vehicles. Read on to find out more.

As you look for a wheelchair accessible vehicle, one of the most important choices you will make is deciding between side entry and rear entry wheelchair vehicles. Read on to see how the conversions compare when it comes to flexibility, layout and price.

The Difference

The primary difference between side and rear entry wheelchair vans is where you enter the vehicle. Side entry vans make use of the sliding side door and a ramp or a lift. Rear entry vans use the back of the vehicle for wheelchair access. A ramp is the most common point of entry for both conversions.

Floor Plans

Your choice of entry location determines the floor plan available for your vehicle. Rear entry vans offer two floor plans for up to four or six passengers.

“The rear entry van’s biggest advantages are ground clearance and being able to park in any parking spot,” Certified Mobility Consultant Roger Lajeunesse of our Londonderry location said. “However, you are limited to four seats with a wheelchair. You do have the option to add a two person flip seat in the back to make your van a six passenger vehicle with no wheelchairs inside.”

A side entry van has more options when it comes to the floor plan. One plan allows for up to three wheelchair users to ride in. Side entry vans will lower the available space inside, as the maximum number of ambulatory passengers in this option is five including three in the rear bench seat.

“The side entry van allows the client to drive from their wheelchair or sit in the front passenger seat area,” Roger said. “The side entry allows up to five passengers and one wheelchair. The disadvantage would be the ground clearance and not being able to park in any parking spot.”

Note that not all side entry vans can accommodate a driver, so ask your local Certified Mobility Consultant which choices will work for you if you hope to drive from a wheelchair.

A new side entry option is the BraunAbility MXV, a wheelchair accessible SUV built on the Ford Explorer chassis. The vehicle allows for four passengers with a wheelchair user. The wheelchair user can drive the vehicle or sit in the front passenger seat.

Cost

Both the side entry and rear entry conversions can be affordable solutions for you and your family. A rear entry can be more cost efficient in some cases because not as much of the vehicle has to be converted. However, if you are looking into a side entry, the CompanionVan and CompanionVan Plus are two of the most economical options on the market.

The BraunAbility CompanionVan is built in a streamlined package with a manual door and ramp.  If the wheelchair user is travelling with an attendant, this would be an excellent choice. The CompanionVan Plus adds a power ramp system that deploys at the touch of a button. These vans cannot accommodate a wheelchair user as a driver, but they do have a superior lifting capacity up to 800 pounds. While rear entry vans can sometimes be a more affordable option, consider the CompanionVan as a great, budget-friendly choice.

Making Your Choice

This is not a decision you may be able to make immediately. The best option for deciding which configuration works for you is to speak to your local Certified Mobility Consultant at our 56 MobilityWorks stores. Whether you choose a side entry or a rear entry accessible vehicle, we will be there for you every step of the way and make sure your vehicle fits your needs for the miles ahead.


Are you looking for a side entry vehicle? You may also be interested in our current promotion.
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MobilityWorks Helps Veteran Shannon Daniels Regain His Freedom

MobilityWorks of Marietta GA Helps Air Force Veteran Shannon Daniels Regain His Freedom with a Wheelchair Accessible Van

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Recently, Fox 5 News Atlanta aired an I-Team investigative report on Air Force Veteran Shannon Daniels’ struggles with his local Veteran’s Affairs (VA) office.

Shannon is a combat veteran who was injured during the Gulf War. Though classified by the military as “permanently and totally disabled”, Shannon still had the ability to walk. However; last Fall, when he was involved in a motor vehicle collision, he was left with disc herniation, spine pathology and rotator cuff tears. As a result, Shannon is now completely paralyzed from the waist down.

Shannon’s VA doctor approved him for a motorized wheelchair to help him get around. However, the VA rejected his request for access to special transportation to pick up that chair to bring to his house.  After nine months of effort with no resolution, Shannon reached out to Fox 5 for help.

Fox 5 was able to connect with the VA who apologized to Shannon and ensured him that would work to rectify the situation.

Meanwhile, Tasha Chitolie and other staff members from our Marietta, GA MobilityWorks location saw the Fox 5 news segment on Shannon and wanted to help.

The team knew of a woman who was looking to sell a used wheelchair accessible vehicle. After hearing about Shannon’s situation, she generously decided to donate her vehicle to the veteran.

Earlier this week, MobilityWorks was able to present the vehicle to Shannon, who says he now feels like he has his life back.

Shannon’s caregiver can transport him in the vehicle. In the future, he will also look into the possibility of being able to drive the vehicle himself.

In addition, MobilityWorks also presented Shannon with a motorized wheelchair to use to get around more easily until he gets his own custom electric wheelchair from the VA.
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MobilityWorks was proud to be able to be a part of giving back to one of our Veterans. Thanks to Shannon Daniels and all of our military service men and women who have dedicated, and are dedicating, so much to our country.

 

MobilityWorks of Alexandria, VA is Now Open!

MobilityWorks of Alexandria

MobilityWorks is excited to announce that our new Alexandria, Virginia location is now open! Located in the Washington DC metro region, just south of our Nation’s Capital, the Alexandria store will be able to provide mobility products and services to individuals with disabilities, their family members and caregivers in Virginia, Maryland and surrounding areas. We anticipate this location to be one of our busier showrooms for sales, service and rentals!

Visit Us At:
5751 General Washington Drive, Suite D
Alexandria, Virginia 22312

Store Hours
Mon: 8:00 AM- 5 PM
Tue: 8:00 AM – 5 PM
Wed: 8:00 AM – 5 PM
Thu: 8:00 AM – 5 PM
Fri: 8:00 AM- 5 PM
Sat: By appointment only
Sun: Closed

Phone: 1-877-275-4907

Click here to learn more about our Alexandria Virginia location

Pre-Owned Used Wheelchair Vans May Come With a Warranty

When purchasing a pre-owned accessible vehicle, otherwise known as used handicap vans, we are often asked about the warranty. Just like a non-adaptive automobile or minivan purchased from an auto dealer, converted vehicles also come with the same OEM warranty from the manufacturer on the engine and transmission (i.e. the “power train”). This is typically provided by the chassis manufacturing company such as Toyota, Dodge, Chrysler or Honda. They are typically 5-years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.

The conversion itself though, such as the side-entry foldout ramp or in-floor automated ramp and kneeling system, typically also comes with its own 3-year, 36,000 mile warranty – at least for most leading conversion manufacturers like BraunAbility or VMI.

Larger mobility dealers, such as MobilityWorks, can also offer what is called “new/used“, a term that means a vehicle has a brand new conversion on a slightly used minivan, generally with under 40,000 miles. In this scenario, the warranty on the conversion would  begin at the time of purchase (for the full 3 years or 36k miles) and whatever remaining power train warranty on the chassis would still be in effect.

MobilityWorks can also offer extended warranty on vehicles, so long as they meet certain criteria. Check with our finance department or your local Certified Mobility Consultant on the warranty information and whatever options are available to you on your purchase.

SmartFloor™ for Commercial Vans Offers Custom Flexibility for Wheelchair Transport Vehicles

Revolutionary flooring product offered by MobilityWorks now available for Ram ProMaster and Ford Transit commercial van platforms.

SmartFloor™ seating inside a Ram ProMaster van. The vehicle has a BraunAbility Century lift installed in the back.

Whenever someone sees the Transit Works SmartFloor™ product for the first time and begins to grasp the benefits of being able to quickly rearrange the seating, or remove them altogether, there’s always an ‘aha’ moment.

Inside most of the newer MobilityWorks commercial fleet vehicles, the SmartFloor that’s being installed will provide its new owner/operator with more flexibility than they’ve ever had before. That flexibility will result in operational savings and better service to the customer.

Here’s how:

Instead of having all of the seating permanently bolted to the floor, a transportation company or fleet owner now has the option to quickly rearrange the interior layout and re-purpose the vehicle for a different function in literally a matter of minutes.

In the case of a wheelchair transportation provider (such as an assisted living center), there may only be a few occasions every week where they need to have two wheelchair positions available, while the remaining passengers typically being transported need bench seating. If given notice that a second wheelchair passenger is being picked up, they can easily remove the necessary bench seats and re-install them when the trip is completed. This reduces the number of total trips being made. For the wheelchair community, that means better service because providers will be able to quickly adapt to changing needs.

With this type of flexibility, the SmartFloor installed on the Ram ProMaster or the Ford Transit really is a smart decision. The SmartFloor is a patented product available exclusively in North America from Transit-Works and its certified bus, OEM and mobility dealers across America.

For more information on the SmarFloor for Commercial Vans, call Transit Works at 1-855-337-9543.