The fight for more accessible taxis in New York City and the outer boroughs is on…and the accessibility community is winning, slowly but surely!
There are about 60,000 people who use wheelchairs in New York City and the surrounding boroughs. Of the 13,000 yellow cabs in circulation, only about 200 are wheelchair accessible. But laws have been passed that require 2,000 new medallions to be issued for accessible yellow cabs in New York City – and they’ll be on the streets next month. The Governor also said that he wants to see a plan that makes all yellow taxis wheelchair accessible. Now we’re talkin’!
In another legislative breakthrough, livery cars will be able to legally pick up street hails in upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs. Eighteen thousand livery drivers will be given permits, with 6,000 being rolled out each year over the next three years. The cars will get roof lights and they’ll be apple green in color. And here’s the big news… 20% of them will be wheelchair accessible.
We’re doing all we can at Bussani Mobility Team to support the changes. We’ve been actively participating in the City’s meetings about expanding accessible transportation. And we’ve been demoing wheelchair accessible vans to taxi cab owners. We’ve also expanded our Commercial Fleet Division. We’re 100 percent behind this effort that will help you take fuller advantage of all that the great city of New York has to offer.
So you’ve got a wheelchair van – and you’re traveling safely in style! Now, how do you make the most of your investment? What’s the best way to manage your wheelchair accessible van maintenance?
We asked Bussani Mobility Team’s Service and Production Manager, Dan Walsh, to share some of his best tips for making sure your wheelchair accessible vehicle goes the distance.
1. Use It – Letting a vehicle sit around can be just as harmful as excessive use. Did you know that a three-year-old wheelchair van with under 10,000 miles will often need new tires or hoses or gaskets, all due to dry rot? Keeping your vehicle on the move helps slow down corrosion.
2. Regular Maintenance – Keeping up with your scheduled maintenance is as important to your conversion as oil is to your engine. That includes proper lubricants, alignment, and most important, upgrades.
3. Find a Service Facility You Trust – Don’t go to just any service facility. Trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
4. Understand Your Manual Overrides – Let’s face it, problems do occur. And you need to know how to handle any situation. For instance, your wheelchair accessible van is equipped with manual overrides to allow you to deploy the ramp if there’s a mechanical problem or accident. Knowing how to use that system will make the difference between a minor inconvenience and a complete frustration.
5. Trade It! –Maintain the value of your vehicle. One way to do this is by trading in your van for a newer product while the value is still high, instead of driving it into the ground and then looking to trade.
And remember that Bussani Mobility Team provides you with 24-hour, one-stop service. Our certified technicians know all the ins-and-outs of adaptive vehicles, in a way that a regular mechanic just doesn’t understand. Brakes, tune-ups, tires, auto body, glass repair…you name, we do it. We’re here to help you make the most of your investment…and to keep you road-ready and safe at all times.
Have you seen the Action Trackchair all-terrain wheelchair? This baby really gives you access. You have the power and the torque to conquer sand, mud, snow, mountain roads, campgrounds, the woods, and other surfaces.
See it in the woods!
See it on the sand!
OTP Mobility Inc., the exclusive Long Island LosGroup Inc. dealer of the chair, is doing an event this Saturday, May 12, so people can try out the Action Trackchair on the sand. They’re also looking to raise awareness and are pushing for accessibility at the parks. Check it out from 1-6pm at Sunken Meadow State Park (Rte. 25A and Sunken Meadow Parkway, Kings Park, NY). The group is meeting in Field 1 in front of the park office and will head to the food pavilion on the boardwalk for sign-in. The rain date is May 17. For more info call 631-702-5302.
“I’m paralyzed from the neck down, and I can walk but with difficulty. To get to the beach and to be outdoors is the best therapy one can ask for,” said Larry Keller, President & CEO of OTP Mobility Inc. “The Action Trackchair floats on the sand, no matter how soft it is. It really goes the distance as far as getting you wherever you want to be without worrying about getting stuck. That’s real freedom.”
Located on Long Island Sound, Sunken Meadow State Park is a beautiful place to spend the day with loved ones. Its three miles of beach meets tall, glacier-formed bluffs at the west end of the shoreline. A man-made dam separates the park’s brackish creek and marshes from the tidal flats. South of the flats are acres of undeveloped and heavily-wooded rolling hills. Activities include swimming in Long Island Sound; hiking six miles of trails, including the northern starting point of the Suffolk County Greenbelt Trail; biking, horseback riding, picnicking, kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, fishing, a ¾ mile boardwalk, cross-country skiing, and a 27-hole golf course.
Sometimes the simplest moments are those that we hold the most dear…like a walk in the
park with a loved one or a holiday dinner with the whole family. Let me tell you a little story about how
Bussani Mobility Team
helps make dreams come true…
Johnny was injured from birth, and he’s been living in a group home since he was 5. Now 18, he had been the only family member missing from all of the holiday photos, because there just wasn’t any way to transport him to and from family gatherings. Until a few months ago, when the Boutin family purchased a Town & Country wheelchair accessible van that was custom-fitted by Bussani Mobility Team for Johnny’s needs.
The van arrived just in time for Christmas. And to make the holiday even sweeter, one of Johnny’s brothers had just returned from serving as a Marine in Afghanistan, and his other brother was about to be deployed into the Army. This year, all the brothers, his sister, parents and grandparents were especially joyous.
His mom Laurie Boutin, said: “Finally, my parents have a holiday picture with all of their grandchildren in it. We hadn’t been all together with the whole family since Johnny was 4 ½ years old.”
Having the wheelchair accessible van changed everyday life for the Boutins, as well. Before, when Johnny would have to go to the hospital, the family had to call an ambulance because of his trach tube. Sometimes, they would wait up to three hours for another ambulance to return him home.
“That would never happen now,” commented Laurie. “I can take him wherever he needs to go. My influence is so much bigger again in his life. And when Johnny gets to travel, he loves it. He smiles from ear to ear – and he’s mobile! Sometimes we go to a nearby park and stroll around. That was never an option before. We get to explore together, and it’s opened up a whole new world for him and for us.”
Laurie’s advice to people with physical disabilities or those caring for them: “If there’s any way possible that you can get a wheelchair accessible van, do it. It will increase your independence.”