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

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.

MobilityWorks Commercial Customer Named Paratransit Operator of the Year

Congratulations to long-time MobilityWorks Commercial customer Bud Williams for being named the 2013 National Paratransit Operator of the Year by the Taxi, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA). Bud leads his family-run company, Wheelchair Transport Service (WTS) of Clearwater, FL, with integrity and customer service that goes beyond most companies in the industry. He has been with WTS since 1981, starting as a driver and dispatcher, and working his way up.

Al Legasse, CEO of TLPA, said “This family-owned business is truly one to be emulated.” During the past year FEMA was in need of assistance from WTS, and Bud and his team immediately sprang into action deploying 10 vehicles to hard-hit areas.

It is so good to know the vans MobilityWorks builds with such care and quality are doing such good, not just in an emergency, but to transport those in need every day. You can find out more about Bud Williams and WTS at their website www.wheelchairtransport.com.

Wheelchair Transportation Services

Gas Stations Designed for Easy Fueling

Do the pumps in your area measure up?

“I always have my husband go to get gas for me… it can be a real pain going to fill up.”

The able-bodied person can go to just about any gas station in the United States and the process to fill up the tank will be the same. They simply get out of the car, truck or SUV, swipe the credit card (or go inside with cash) and in less than five minutes time they are on their way to the next destination. But what if you are in a wheelchair? That process is much different depending on where you go and whether the operating buttons are at accessible height. If the keypad isn’t at a lower height, like the one shown above, they are nearly impossible to reach from a wheelchair. A station with eight pumps may have one with a keypad at a lower height, below 54″ to meet ADA compliance standards — but that doesn’t help with getting in and out of the vehicle. Many stations have a sticker on the pump with a “call for assistance” phone number. But, they are often out of service, no one inside picks up the phone, or it goes to a toll-free 800 number that rings to a remote call center. The process can be described as something that much less than world-class customer service.

For many individuals, refueling means honking the horn to get an attendant’s attention or waiting to ask another station customer for help. Some of our clients told us they have a friend or family member tag along for the ride whenever they need a refuel. “I always have my husband go to get gas for me” said one woman. That’s not always very convenient, especially when travelling. For those who drive a non-converted vehicle with hand controls, assembling and disassembling the wheelchair to get in and out can be a very time-consuming process. Fortunately, there is a better solution that is starting to take hold.

Fuel Call® rings a device inside to let the attendant know that someone needs assistance with re-fueling.

Fuel Call® is the product name of Inclusion Solutions wireless assistance technology that provides the person in a wheelchair with a very a simple, easy way of contacting a gas station attendant. There is no obscure phone number to call. An ADA compliant push-button, positioned at exactly 48″ high directly beside the pump, signals a device inside the station. It has a distinctive ring-tone and flashes a strobe light to let the attendant know there is someone needing help at a pump. It is currently being used at more than 500 stations throughout the country.

Advocacy and Legislation

Getting buy-in from the station owners to make the investment hasn’t been easy. Patrick Hughes, Founder and CEO of Inclusion Solutions says that most owners see placing a sticker on a pump with a phone number as being all that’s needed to be compliant. Whether the call is being answered 100% of the time and assistance is being provided in a timely manner is another story. For Hughes, his products are more about providing better service and retaining good customers. “Why wouldn’t you want that?” – says Hughes. Accessibility has been his passion since becoming friends in college with a fellow student who had cerebral palsy. His other self-designed solutions provide a similar service for restaurants and stores that don’t have an accessible ramp or automatic door. Big Bell™ alerts staff inside that assistance is needed at the door. They typically come out with a portable ramp to go over a threshold or step that can’t easily be removed or redesigned. At least it provides a method of accessibility.

Florida’s Broward County just recently passed a law requiring that gas stations post a phone number on gas pumps or provide an intercom system like Fuel Call® so that drivers can ask for help with refueling. A service station employee is then required by law to offer help. The movement is also picking up some steam with advocacy groups as well. Representatives with the Paralyzed Veterans Association (PVA) and members of congress are also working toward better gas station accessibility and service. Everyone agrees that honking horns and calling disconnected 800 numbers needs to be a thing of the past.

What’s Your Gas Station Story? Good or Bad…

Do you honk the horn, have a favorite gas station or attendant, have a friend come along for the ride, roll down the window and ask a passer-by for help — or just grin and bear it, getting in and out spending more time at a gas station than most people do to eat their lunch? Let us know on our Facebook page.