Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Expensive Transportation

Since today was a holiday from work, I went and looked at wheelchair vans. Oh my goodness, they are expensive!

Getting a van is the final step in making our home and family ready for Johnny. He currently has a regular rigid wheelchair, and will be getting a power chair. There is no other option for a vehicle other than a modified van.

I looked at three brands - Toyota, Chrysler, and Dodge. And, I looked at both side entry and rear entry models. One of the challenges I face (besides financing the vehicle, of course) is finding one that has enough seating for everyone. I need the one wheelchair position, and at least four other non-wheelchair seats (including the driver seat). A fifth non-wheelchair seat would be a huge plus, and would allow for an aide to travel with us.

To get enough seating, it seems my best option is a rear entry model, and the Toyota Sienna seems to have the most seats as well as the most comfortable seats. But, I would like your opinions.

If you have a wheelchair van, what criteria did you use to decide on the best model? Were there must-haves and nice-to-haves, and if so, what were they? How long have you have your van, and have you found a modified van to have more/less/or equal problems as a non-modified van?

Do you have any advice for me as I try to work out this last major obstacle? Everything else seems to be falling into place, and it would be wonderful if I could work through this van issue quickly also.


mommy~dearest said...

My company maintains our vehicles, so I really don't know about the upkeep personally. I do know that having an electric lift is a bonus. I've driven many vans where you have to pull the lift down manually, and it sucks. You have to stand on the bumper a lot of times.

Again, I'm kind of outdated, but there are a couple different styles of tie-down tracks. One of them is a front to back slide in latch, and the other you need 2 hands to latch (you lift the front part and slide it in from side to side). The benefit of the 2 hand model is it's supposed to be more durable. You gotta realize though, that we usually have 4 wheelchairs tied down in the back at once. The tie downs are going to get run over a lot more than if it were just 1 or 2 chairs. I would suggest you try them both and see what's more comfortable to you.

There's my 2 cents!

Deana said...

We've only had our van a few weeks, but so far we're happy with our choice to go with a full size van, rather than the mini-van. We can stand up inside the van, and do all of Max's diapering in the van, rather than inside somewhere. We can also move a lot more people/equipment.

We got a dodge sprinter, and will put a lift in eventually.