The holidays are just around the corner. If you’re in the travel or hospitality industry, it’s crucial that you provide ADA compliant vehicles for your customers. Not only is it the law, but it’s expected. An ADA compliant wheelchair vehicle is not viewed as a luxury but as a legitimate need for people with disabilities to make their transportation experience easier, safer and more enjoyable.
If your company offers paratransit services, then here are some tips to make your passengers more comfortable. If you’re in the business of transporting people as a convenience that supports your primary business, and you’re not providing the same service for passengers who use wheelchairs or scooters, then you could be putting your company at risk.
1. Make sure the customer understands the process
Clear communication is key. If you own or work for a hotel or resort, then you are in the business of transporting your customers using courtesy shuttles. Whether it’s on the resort grounds, for a sightseeing day trip, to the airport, or for another convenience, your guests rely on you to make their stay as convenient and reliable as possible. If a hotel offers a shuttle service, it must be accessible, or the hotel must have an alternative plan to meet the need.
When customers inquire about wheelchair accessible shuttle services make sure they know what your process is. Below are some key points to communicate:
If the shuttle service is provided by the hotel or a private service. If it’s the latter, make sure the customer knows the name of the shuttle service and what the vehicle looks like.
- The pick-up time and location.
- The destination drop-off time and location.
- Any documentation needed, such as a special ticket or additional fees and payment methods accepted.
- Any special requirements they have.
2. Ask if they will need any additional assistance
It’s important to know ahead of time if the customer needs any additional assistance. For example, if you’re providing an airport shuttle, ask how many bags of luggage they’ll have so you can be sure you have adequate room. Other common special requirements may be any medical equipment they need with them (such as an oxygen tank) or if they’ll have a travel companion.
3. Find out if they have any travel companions
It’s good to know if the customer has any travel companions so you can make sure you have adequate space for them as well. Two good questions to ask are: Are they traveling with their spouse and kids or solo? Do they have a support animal? This helps set expectations for everyone and ensures there will be no surprises!
4. Be on time
Air travel timelines can be stressful and sightseeing trips stick to strict schedules. At airports there’s security to go through, luggage to check, and extra time required for wheelchair set up. Transporting travelers from the parking lot to the terminal, or between terminals, can make or break them having the opportunity to board earlier and making their flights. Having efficient solutions that are ADA compliant means nobody gets left behind and has an easier time traveling.
5. Make Safety a Top Priority
Safety should always be a top priority, especially when people trust you to get them from place to place. That’s why it’s crucial that the paratransit vehicle you’re offering customers is ADA compliant. If it’s not, then you’re putting your company at risk and could face legal consequences such as federal lawsuits or a complaint being filed with the Justice Department. Both cases would result in significant loss of time and money for your business.
Some states also have their own specific laws similar to ADA compliance. You can find yours by contacting the state’s Attorney General’s Office.
It’s one thing to meet requirements, but it’s another to offer your customer a truly exceptional experience. If you’re looking for wheelchair accessible vehicle options, the recommended vehicle for paratransit is the Ford Transit. It’s American-made to be versatile, fuel efficient, and offer low operating costs.
The Ford Transit is ideal for tourism, hotel transportation, casinos and even airports, but the van can be configured to meet the needs of multiple industries with an eye to impressing your customers with your attention to their comfort.
Nor Cal Vans designs and builds transportation solutions that change people’s lives. We serve a broad range of industries with our innovative new and used van conversion options including government, education, airport/group transportation, non-emergency medical, secure transport, and refrigeration. We’ve been solving transportation needs for nearly four decades and strive to hold true to our values of teamwork, trust, accountability, growth and a positive attitude.