Start a Transportation Business With Your Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV)

The number of people relying on public transportation continues to grow. This is especially true for people with disabilities. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, over 25 million Americans live with a disability that limits their ability to travel. With a high demand for wheelchair accessible transportation, you can help disabled people in your community by starting a wheelchair accessible transportation business.

What Do You Need to Start Your Business Driving a Wheelchair Van?

Before you start a wheelchair accessible transport service, you’ll need to consider state and local driving laws, the type of transportation service you will provide, and what wheelchair accessible vehicle will suit your needs and the needs of disabled passengers.

#1 Check Your State and Local Transportation Guidelines

Some states require drivers to have special licenses or endorsements to chauffer passengers. You may need to obtain a specific license like a commercial driver’s license or a chauffeur’s license before starting an accessible transportation business. Regulations vary by state, so check with your local BMV to ensure you meet all rules and regulations for transporting passengers with disabilities.

#2 Consider What Kind of Accessible Transport Service You Will Provide.

Types of accessible transportation services include:

  • Public Transportation: Available in most larger cities, public transportation options like buses and subways run on a fixed route and have accessible entry and exit points, as well as seating for passengers with mobility impairments. Non-Emergency Medical Transportation: Whether they’re visiting a doctor, a specialist, or a physical therapist, people with disabilities tend to have more medical needs than those without disabilities. Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) services allow disabled people to get to and from medical appointments.
  • Paratransit: Often used to meet day-to-day needs, paratransit can be utilized by disabled individuals for transportation to and from work or to and from your local grocery store.
  • Wheelchair Accessible Rideshare Service: Unlike other accessible transportation services, wheelchair accessible rideshare services typically serve one passenger at a time, allowing for transportation to the desired destination without additional stops. Accessible rideshare services provide door-to-door transportation to virtually any location.

#3 Choosing a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

If you’re looking to help disabled people meet their transportation needs, you’ll want to choose the right accessible vehicle. Vehicle selection depends on the number of passengers you are transporting. If you will transport multiple disabled passengers at one time, an accessible bus may be ideal. Your local BraunAbility dealer offers multiple accessible bus options equipped with lifts or ramps to meet the needs of disabled passengers. If you’re transporting 1-2 wheelchair users at a time, a wheelchair accessible van may better fit your needs. Handicap vans are often used by those providing accessible NEMT or rideshare services.

Driving School: What Training May be Required?

For those looking to start a wheelchair accessible transportation business, some training will be required. First, a driver will need to ensure they’ve met all local and state guidelines for transporting passengers. After meeting these requirements, a driver will need to know how to operate their wheelchair accessible vehicle equipment, as well as any securement systems for wheelchairs. All BraunAbility vehicles come with owner’s manuals. Be sure to read your owner’s manual before operating your accessible vehicle and know any overrides to ensure the safe transport of passengers with disabilities.

Set Up Your Van Transportation Business

  1. When setting up a wheelchair accessible transportation service, you’ll need to ask a few questions up front:How many passengers with and without disabilities will you transport?
  2. What kind of vehicle will meet your passengers’ needs?
  3. Would you prefer a certain style of ramp or lift for your vehicle?
    These are all areas to consider when setting up your van transportation business.

Some Wheelchair Transport Business Ideas

If you’re looking to start a wheelchair accessible transportation business, there are several places you can find clientele:

  • Medical providers (doctor’s offices, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities)
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Local disability centers
  • Community centers

About Using Rideshare Apps and Your Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft allow drivers with wheelchair accessible vehicles to transport passengers with and without disabilities. If you have a wheelchair accessible vehicle, providing services through rideshare apps can increase profits, as drivers with wheelchair accessible vehicles can receive incentives and monetary bonuses for offering handicap accessible transportation services.

Looking to help disabled people in your community? Contact your local mobility dealer to learn more about starting a wheelchair accessible transportation business.

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