Sales: 1-877-275-4907 Service: 1-877-275-4912Rentals: 1-877-275-4915

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.

Microcars for Wheelchairs: Then and Now

Harold Downey’s wheelchair micro-car could reach top speeds of 45 mph.

The Need and Desire for Independence is the Mother of All Mobility Inventions

Most of us have seen the latest Mercedes-Benz ‘Smart Car’ on the road these past few years, but did you know that a wheelchair microcar was invented back in the 1950s? Along with entrepreneurs like Ralph Braun, the founder of today’s BraunAbility minivan conversions, people were simply looking for ways to be independent with whatever means they could. Vans for wheelchair drivers simply weren’t available.

Back in October of 1956, Harold Young of Downey California was featured in a Modern Mechanix magazine article with his three wheel, 10HP wheelchair accessible microcar that he drove on city streets for many years. The hand controls he installed were a push-stop, pull-to-go lever design, similar to the mechanical driving aids being used today. Hooks attached the dashboard were used to secure the wheelchair in place.

Fast Forward to 2015…

The all-electric Kenguru is designed for local community driving with a top speed of 25 mph.

The Kenguru shown above is a Hungarian designed, electric powered micro-vehicle with a top speed of 25 mph. It can travel around 60 miles per day, but is not legal on roads above 35, depending on local restrictions. For practicality purposes, it appears to have more of a golf-cart application, perhaps for getting around in senior living communities, than for actual road use. It has a motorcycle-like handlebar steering design with a throttle for acceleration.

The Kenguru has been reported to be coming to the United States by the efforts of former attorney, now entrepreneur, Stacy Zoern of Austin, TX. Stacey was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and has been in a wheelchair her entire life. She formed a company call Community Cars based in Texas to manufacture and distribute the vehicles. When it becomes available, the single-passenger wheelchair microcar will cost somewhere around $20-$25k. Community Cars is also designing a model that will be controlled by a joystick or small-diameter steering wheel for those with limited upper body strength. for more information, go to Kenguru.com

Spreekt u Nederlands? (do you speak Dutch?)

The Canta has a top speed of 28 mph.

The “Ride-in Canta” (Inrij Canta) shown above is a wheelchair microcar from the Netherlands developed in 1995 by Waaijenberg, a company that specializes in a variety of smaller vehicles (for disabled and able-bodied customers). Equipped with a rear-entry ramp, the Canta pneumatically raises up off the ground when the engine is started and the driver is ready to move . It comes with a Honda 5-stroke, 160cc engine (200cc optional) and has a top speed of 28 mph. Canta hand controls can be placed on the left or right side, depending on the need.

In the Netherlands, the Canta is legal to be used be used on cycle paths and sidewalks as a mobility aid. A driver’s license is not required. There are no known plans to bring the Canta to the United States.

Editors note: Modern Mechanix magazine’s last published issue was their March/April edition in 2001.

Scooter and Power Chair Lifts Now Available for Travelling With Just About Any Type of Vehicle

Experts emphasize that proper equipment selection and installation are critical to stress-free use with transporting mobility devices.

Top left to right: hoist-style lift, platform drive-on, drive-off lift, and external transport lift. Bottom: Bruno Chariot towing lift for smaller midsize cars. Many different makes and models are available for each style of lift.

From compact cars to minivans, trucks and SUVs, transport solutions for light and heavy-duty assistive devices are now providing many more options for those with a physical disability or health condition. But having the wrong lift added to a vehicle, not designed for the type of scooter or wheelchair, can have costly consequences.

“Our biggest fear is that someone will buy a used or improper lift off the internet and it ends up causing major damage to the mobility device or the vehicle or both,” said Guy Hanford, Director of Marketing for MobilityWorks.

“Everyone in this industry has either heard of, or seen first-hand, horror stories of bad decisions and backyard mechanic installations. I’ve heard of hitches breaking, cars bottoming out, wheelchairs falling off the back and so on. Your heart goes out to people because they’re just trying to save a little money, but in the end it costs them much more than doing it right the first time.”

Doug Curtis is the Director of National Sales for MobilityWorks and has over 25 years of experience with the sales and service of stowage lifts. According to Mr. Curtis, having a Certified Mobility Consultant to help with the selection of the lift — and having a manufacturer approved technician do the installation is critical:

“There’s an old saying: you get what you pay for — and unfortunately that’s especially true for scooter lifts. First, they are not all built with the same quality design and materials. A quality lift will last longer and be safer on the road. Second, they absolutely need to be matched to the vehicle and the chair or scooter being transported… for weight, size, and functionality. And then finally, each device has to be installed by an experienced, trained technician that’s been certified by the manufacturer.”

Peace of Mind and Safety Considerations

To get the right stowage lift for your vehicle and mobility device, contact a Certified Mobility Consultant (CMC) at a quality mobility dealer. Having a lift installed to the manufacturer’s specifications provides peace-of-mind and a longer lasting solution. You will enjoy your freedom and independence more knowing that your mobility device and vehicle are safe to travel… no matter when or where you want to go.

In addition to the 30 MobilityWorks locations in 12 states found here, you can also find a reputable mobility dealer by contacting the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA). Look for a NMEDA Quality Assurance Program (QAP) dealer that adheres to the highest level of product quality, service and technician training practices in our industry.

To learn more about the transport devices available for your vehicle, check out our Scooter Lifts page here.

Grateful Pittsburgh Family Organizes “Pay it Forward” Fundraising Event

DINE & DONATE

This past fall, The MobilityWorks Foundation and our Pittsburgh Team participated in helping an anonymous donor with providing a little girl and her family a wheelchair accessible van. The little girl’s name is Maya Torres. It is our pleasure to tell you that Maya will be turning eight years old this January 8th! …and… as part of her birthday celebration she wants to help others by “Paying it Forward”. Her and her family have organized a fundraiser at a local restaurant in Pittsburgh’s Waterworks Mall that will donate 20% of all the food orders on that day back to The MobilityWorks Foundation.

“The physical burden of lifting Maya’s 100-pound power chair into the car is a thing of the past. With the new van, we simply push a button and the ramp automatically extends from the van. We push Maya in, strap in her chair, buckle her up, and off we go. Not only does having this van eliminate the physical stress we used to endure, but it allows our family to focus on Maya’s other needs. She’s an amazing girl with places to go – thank you for knocking down one more barrier for her.” — Abby Torres

We want to thank the Torres family for their kind gesture – and especially to Maya – a very happy birthday celebration!

Maya with her mom and dad… and new wheelchair accessible van!

DINE & DONATE Pay It Forward Fundraising Event

When: Wednesday, January 8th (Dine at Anytime: 11AM to 10PM)
Where: LaCappella’s Italian Kitchen
1041 Freeport Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15238
In The Waterworks Mall
Phone: (412) 449-0200
www.lacappellapgh.com/

Thank you to the Torres family for your efforts to help others!


The Pay It Forward Movement

Pay it forward is an expression used for repaying a good deed to help others. Its concept dates back to 1784 and the writings of Benjamin Franklin. In 2000, Catherine Ryan Hyde published her novel titled Pay It Forward which was later made into a Warner Brothers film. On April 24th, 2013, people from 65 countries participated in “Pay it Forward Day” with individuals working on proclamations in 36 states & 41 cities. The goal of Pay it Forward Day (PIFD) was to inspire over 5 million acts of kindness around the world.

New Rubberized Floors in Wheelchair Minivans a Noticeable Long-Lasting Feature

New rubberized flooring materials provide for easier wheelchair maneuverability and cleaning.

Advanced Materials Provide a Smoother Transition, Improved Maneuverability and Cleanup

Without proper maintenance, prolonged use of heavier power wheelchairs and scooters can begin taking their toll on a minivan’s carpeted flooring materials. Road salt is also a major concern in cold-weather areas, with salt residue increasing the potential for carpet deterioration. These issues can lead to problems with lifting, carpet tears and general cleanup. For newer van owners, however, those concerns are becoming a thing of the past. In many of our 2013 models, and now almost all new 2014 side entry make and model conversions, rubberized flooring has become one of the more popular options being asked about.

Over the last few years, wheelchair minivan conversion companies, such as Braun and VMI, have been experimenting with alternatives to carpeted flooring. New advanced, longer-lasting rubberized materials have been introduced in most of the newer vans – with great success and appreciation. The response from our clients to this improved feature has been extremely positive. Our repeat van buyers immediately notice the new rubber flooring and recognize its many benefits. With rubberized flooring, L-track for wheelchair tie-downs are also pre-installed for improved durability and a smoother floor. Removable front seat-bases are also more easily rolled in and out of the vehicles. And cleaning the floor is now a breeze.

Rubberized floors are now available (as an option) in 90% of the brand new side-entry and rear-entry accessible minivans being sold at MobilityWorks. Anticipating its popularity, many of our pre-ordered stock units available for sale at our showrooms already have them installed. With newer features and improvements being added every year, including step-up flares (below the front doors), reduced noise, and fold-down foot rests for the rear bench, people with a disability and their families are able to enjoy a more enhanced, perfected vehicle.

Stop In

If you haven’t seen the newer vans lately, stop in at one of our 30 locations for a demonstration. Even if you’re just looking and want to ask questions, we’d love to have you come in and meet with a member of our team. Call us toll-free at 1-877-275-4907 to schedule a demonstration and test ride.

A smoother transition from floor to wheelchair ramp and easier cleanup is a noticeable benefit in many of the newer vans with rubberized flooring at MobilityWorks.

Got Any Improvement Ideas? Get a Free Gift!

Let us know your ideas on improving vehicle conversions so that we can make them better for everyone. Write your ideas to marketing@mobilityworks.com. Please include your name and address so that we can send you progress notes on your suggestion. The first 10 people with realistic suggestions will get a FREE copy of Ralph Braun’s 200-page biographical hard-cover story called “Rise Above”. Ralph Braun (1940-2013) started The Braun Corporation creating wheelchair lifts and van solutions for his own mobility needs after being diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at a very young age. He was a pioneer in the mobility industry and his story is an inspiration to all Americans, with or without disabilities.