March 9, 2023

FR’s Guide to Wheelchair-Accessible Van Conversions

Transportation can be a significant challenge for passengers who use wheelchairs, but it doesn't have to be! Whether attending medical…

Transportation can be a significant challenge for passengers who use wheelchairs, but it doesn’t have to be! Whether attending medical appointments, taking an airport shuttle or visiting friends and family, having the freedom to engage in everyday activities is vital. In this blog, we will review the process of choosing the right vehicle to suit your needs and understanding the van conversion options available. Explore these tips and options to create a transportation solution that suits your specific needs and provides a safe, inclusive and accessible environment. 

Choosing the Right Vehicle  

Starting your accessible vehicle journey means deciding between a new or used van to meet the specific needs of your passengers. Purchasing a new van ensures accessibility features, but comes at a higher price tag. Buying a used van saves money, but may present challenges due to wear and tear or inadequate modifications. The other important vehicle choice is deciding if you require a minivan or a full-size van. While both have benefits, it’s important to meet with an expert who can offer guidance on which vehicle model is the best choice. At FR, our team is experienced in helping everyone from families to taxi fleets find the right solutions for their specific situation. 

Exploring Available Conversion Options 

Conversion or upfit? The answer depends on your specific situation and needs. A van conversion involves adding a wheelchair ramp to a minivan for rear or side entry, in addition to customizing the interior to best accommodate the passengers. Adding a ramp takes up less space compared to a lift, and can be a more cost-effective choice since ramps are typically installed on a fuel-efficient minivan versus a full-size van. Spring-assisted ramps are popular for minivan conversions like the Chrysler Pacifica and Toyota Sienna. 

Alternatively, a van upfit involves installing a platform lift into an existing full-size van to meet ADA and safety standards. An upfit is a cost-saving alternative to buying a brand-new van, allowing a full-size van to be transformed into a wheelchair-accessible vehicle. FR installs wheelchair lifts in full-size vans like the Ford Transit and RAM ProMaster, making loading and unloading passengers a breeze. 

With expertise in both upfits and conversions, FR’s solutions ensure safe, easy loading and unloading. By investing in wheelchair-accessible van conversions, you can ensure your passengers can enjoy freedom of movement and an improved quality of life. Working with FR means you have the added benefit of a leading vehicle converter at your side every step of the way. 

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