Well, wasn't that fun!
I'm going on a staff retreat this weekend and want to take my power chair with me so that I can fully participate with the activities and with the group. So, I'm taking Vita's MV-1 along. We picked it up today and rode home in it. I'd seen it before. I'd looked in it before. But I'd never been in it before. I couldn't believe the experience. It was awesome.
(I am not paid to write this.)
The ramp slowly came down and once in place held firmly as I went up it. I'm not light as a feather so this part had me worried. Once in I swung my manual chair around and parked in the front passenger seat. Joe locked me down - I think he's waited years to do that - and the ramp came up. It was simply amazing. I've ridden in adapted vans and on the TTC WheelTrans buses and this was simply not the same experience. I understood, exactly, why people protested in the streets to be able to ride at the front of the bus. I looked out the front window, not through a grill or by a fire extinguisher. What a view.
How horrible that I felt privileged.
I was in my wheelchair. My wheelchair is build for me and my build. It's the most comfortable chair I sit in. It's the right height for my legs, the right width for my hips, has the right lean for my back. So I was in total comfort, right up front, looking right out the window. Amazing.
Their slogan is that they take the ramp and build a vehicle around it.
I think by doing that they also did something else, if I wrote their slogan it would be ...
We gave RESPECT an engine and then and put it on wheels.
Because that's what it felt like. I felt considered. I felt as if someone thought about what might make me comfortable - the dashboard is a disabled person's dream - and then made it. Every single other van I've ever been screamed 'ADAPTION' to me upon entering. I knew that they weren't made for me - that I was an afterthought.
It was interesting to see people look at the vehicle. Now it has the Vita logo and colours on it - but that's not what people were looking at. They were looking at the car - because it's a cool looking car. There was something different about what they were seeing.
And you bet there was.
They were seeing Respect - On Wheels.
Is that what is actually looks like? It is awesome - and about time. Nice to drop the "need" from "special need" - and just be special. What a cool ride. Enjoy. You should get a custom plate - RESPECT.
Nothing special about our needs. I HATE the term special needs as it sets us apart and infers expensive and difficult.
Everyone is different and therefore just has their own ordinary needs. Even Ableoids!
I have seen these in advertisement only....Looks and sounds like a great ride!! Any clue on how expensive, Dave?
John, I'm not sure exactly. I know that it's cheapter than buying a van and having it adapted. I've linked to a site - it's Canadian - which might be able to help with costs. I'm sure there is an American site as well.
I'm still of mixed feelings about the MV1 because I know it's currently not possible to drive from chair in one of them and from some of the reviews I've read, it's going to be difficult for them to ever be fully usable by a solo wheelchair user. I do wish more places would get them as taxis since that's what they were really designed for and there are certainly too few accessible taxis in the world.
John, last time I saw an estimated price, I think it was in the $36,000 - $40,000 range. Personally, I'd wait a couple years anyway to make sure the cars and company stick around so that you know you can get parts.
It's great to be able to sit in your chair in the front passenger seat, isn't it? When we travel for the organisation that I'm involved with, here in Australia, we hire a vehicle that is modified to permit me to sit up front, like a real person. I enjoy it tremendously.
Dave, I will get a lotto max ticket for tonight and if I win, I will buy you a dozen to give away :)
Woo hoo! I’d heard about someone else riding up front and was intruiged as to why this was a big deal. I didn’t know that something as obvious as a having the wheelchair in the front passenger seat was an innovation. I’m sad and sorry to hear that ppl have had to wait a looong time for this, but woo hoo that it’s here now!!!!
FunMumx3 boy am I going to hold you to that, I've got a ticket for tonight too ... what do you want if I win?
I'm not really convinced that this van will work for me. I am a c3/4 quadriplegic and it is clear to me that the rear seats are too far forward for me to maneuver my front wheel drive Permobil C500 wheelchair in and out as easily as I do in my Chevy Uplander. Also in my Chevy there is enough room for another C500 to sit behind the passenger seat while I ride shotgun. I lived with another quadriplegic and we find this option extremely convenient. I don't know why the designers of the MV-1 put the rear seats so far forward. Probably because it's supposed to be a taxi and not actually a vehicle for people who live with disabilities.
Hi Dave! I'm glad you like your new ride. "Respect - On Wheels" is the perfect way to call it. Getting a chair that makes you feel valued and comfortable is a great bonus. How do you find navigating it?
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