Accessible Taxicabs - Wheelchair taxicabs are most often specially modified vans or minivans. Wheelchair-using passengers are loaded, with the help of the driver, via a lift or, more commonly, a ramp, at the rear of the vehicle. The latest generation of accessible taxis features side loading with emergency egress possible from either of the 2 side doors as well as the rear. The wheelchair is secured using various systems, commonly including some type of belt and clip combination, or wheel locks. Such taxicabs are variously called Maxi-cabs, accessible taxis, wheelchair or wheelchair-accessible taxicabs, modified taxicabs, etc.
New Yorkers with disabilities are now able to ride in a fleet of brand new wheelchair accessible vehicles. Viewpoint Mobility, in collaboration with The Braun Corporation, announced the approval of its 2012 vehicle conversions in New York City taxi fleets. Many of the 2012 conversions are on the streets already and will continue to be introduced throughout the year.
The NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) confirmed Viewpoint's value to New York, making its vehicles one of only three approved 2012 accessible taxi models in the city. Of the accessible cabs currently in Manhattan, over 50% were manufactured by Viewpoint Mobility.
Viewpoint's rear-entry conversion of the Toyota Sienna has been purchased by medallion owners and taxi companies for the past three years, and the vehicle has received the TLC's approval on each consecutive model year.
The company's Toyota rear-entry has proven safe and resilient against Manhattan's harsh driving conditions, undergoing rigorous durability testing at the renowned Altoona Bus Testing Center. In fact, several rear-entry conversions on the Toyota chassis are still in use with over 250,000 miles on the odometer.
"Our vehicles have not only withstood the test of time, but the test of New York City streets," said Viewpoint Mobility Product Manager Jim Probst. "We're excited to introduce our new 2012 rear-entries to the New York taxi fleets, ensuring that residents with disabilities are receiving the accessible transportation they deserve."
Rear-entry conversions have a demonstrated value and popularity within New York City. The vehicles provide versatile transportation, offering alternate street-side on-boarding, easy maneuverability for the passenger and driver, as well as affordable solutions for the medallion owner.
"I've owned virtually every brand out there and the Viewpoint Toyota rides better, holds up longer and gives passengers a better overall taxi experience than any other accessible vehicle," said Medallion Owner Gene Friedman, who owns more accessible taxis than any other operation in New York City. "If I needed another 100 accessible taxis today, I would buy the Viewpoint Toyota."
The Viewpoint conversions have been sold and distributed through Ride-Away, a mobility dealership that also services the Viewpoint accessible conversions for medallion owners like Friedman. "Down time is an expensive issue for me," said Friedman. "Ride-Away handles any vehicle issues quickly, and they do it right the first time."
Viewpoint Mobility is a subsidiary of The Braun Corporation and specializes in rear-entry vehicle conversions. The Braun Corporation announced a substantial investment in Viewpoint Mobility LLC in March 2011.
The Braun Corporation is the largest manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vans, ramps, and wheelchair lifts worldwide and enables people with physical disabilities to regain mobility and lead active and independent lives. The Indiana-based company was founded by Ralph Braun, who was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at a young age and unable to walk by age 15. Ralph was motivated by his disability to invent the world's first electric scooter (the Tri-Wheeler) and wheelchair lift (the Lift-A-Way) in his parents' garage. Word spread and demand for the product increased, resulting in the birth of Save-A-Step Manufacturing, which ultimately became The Braun Corporation. The company offers the most diverse line of vehicle platforms in the industry, including the most popular minivan models from Dodge/Chrysler, Honda, and Toyota. For more information, or to find a dealer near you, please visit www.braunability.com or www.facebook.com/braunability.
Located in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Viewpoint Mobility was founded in 1999 and is the manufacturer of The Vision, a rear-entry, lowered floor accessible vehicle available on Dodge/Chrysler, Honda and Toyota minivan. For more information about Viewpoint Mobility, please visit www.viewpointmobility.com