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29 February 2024

What's a WAV?

 We are now able to source and supply pre-owned Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles! Call us for details of current stock 01377 252500

The problem – Access to transportation for disabled individuals

Access to transportation plays a big part in creating an inclusive society, however not all transportation types are accessible to all. 

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) provide a means of transportation for many individuals with mobility challenges, who would otherwise be at risk of isolation.

As such, these vehicles often enhance the quality of life for individuals with disabilities, as well as bringing a range of benefits to organisations that prioritise diversity and inclusion.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) and how they benefit individuals.


motability wav

If you or a loved one relies on a wheelchair or mobility aid, consider investing in a wheelchair accessible vehicle. These vehicles are designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities, and they are available with various accessibility and safety features.

  • Independence and Freedom - WAVs offer many people with mobility limitations the ability to access transportation. Users of ‘Passenger WAVs’ may still require the assistance of another person, whereas ‘Internal Transfer’ and ‘Drive-From’ WAVs are designed to allow a disabled individual to be independent when they wish to be.


  • Increased opportunities for social interaction - By providing access to community events, social gatherings, and other activities, individuals who use wheelchairs can participate in more aspects of life. This inclusion can foster a sense of belonging and significantly improve their overall quality of life.


  • Employment opportunities - Accessible transportation can be the key to employment opportunities for many individuals with disabilities, leading to their participation in the workforce and financial independence.


  • Improving Health and Quality of Life - Regular participation in social and recreational activities can significantly improve physical, mental and emotional well-being. Engaging in these activities can therefore provide a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle.
  • Enhanced Safety Features - WAVs are equipped with additional safety features to secure wheelchairs during transit, ensuring both the passenger and driver are safe.


  • Support for Caregivers – Those who care for individuals with disabilities often face challenges in providing transportation. WAVs alleviate this burden, allowing caregivers to focus on the well-being of their loved ones rather than navigating transportation obstacles.

 berlingo wheelchairt

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) and how they benefit Organisations.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles play a crucial role in expanding the reach and impact of charities and other organisations focused on improving the lives of individuals with mobility challenges, fostering inclusivity, and promoting independence.

  • Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives - Investing in wheelchair accessible vehicles is an excellent way to emphasise your organisation’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity. This can foster a sense of belonging in the workplace and attract a varied range of employees, which is important for creating an inclusive environment.
  • Compliance with Accessibility Standards - Organisations have a legal and ethical responsibility to provide equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities. WAVs align with accessibility standards, helping to ensure that these obligations are met.
  • Community Integration - WAVs facilitate the integration of people with disabilities into the broader community. Charities can organise events, outings, and social activities, knowing that transportation barriers are reduced, enabling greater community participation.
  • Positive Public Image - Charities and organisations that invest in WAVs demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity and accessibility. This positive image can attract support from donors, volunteers, and the community, helping the organisations to grow and extend their impact.
  • Adaptability to Diverse Needs - In consultation with a specialist company, WAVs can be customised to accommodate various types of mobility aids, ensuring that individuals with different needs can comfortably and safely use the transportation provided by the charity and other organisations.

When it comes to wheelchair accessible vehicles, there are numerous types, each designed to meet different requirements.

  • Small/Small-Medium rear access WAVs
    1. Designed for wheelchair users to enter and exit from the back of the vehicle, utilising a ramp.
    2. The floor inside the vehicle is lowered to increase the headroom available.
    3. Parking can be easier due to the dimensions of the vehicle being comparable to a large SUV/MPV, however one must be mindful of the space needed at the rear of the vehicle for the ramp when deployed and the mobility product during loading/unloading.
    4. Vehicles often converted in this way include: Citroen Berlingo, Ford Tourneo Connect, and Volkswagen Caddy, to name just a few.

berlingo side

  • Side access WAVs
    • Eliminating the necessity for space at the rear of the vehicle, a typical side entry WAV utilises an underfloor cassette lift or an automated ramp to grant access via a sliding door on the side of the vehicle.
    • Can allow access from the kerbside, which may be preferable on busy roads
    • Usually seen on larger vehicles, such as Volkswagen Transporters.
    • Smaller vehicles are less frequently converted to side-access, however it has been done on the Ford Connect.
  • Medium-Large/Large rear access WAVs
    • Available as lowered floor with ramp access, or flat floor with a tail-lift.
    • Rear doors/tailgate are often automated.
    • In addition to the space for the wheelchair user, larger WAVs can have additional seats for passengers – these may be fixed or folding, dependent on the required layout.
    • They also have more room for shopping, luggage, and essential mobility/disability related equipment.
    • Examples include: Volkswagen Transporter, Ford Tourneo Custom, and Mercedes Sprinter.

All the above types of WAV are also available as ‘Internal Transfer’ and/or ‘Drive-From’ WAVs, subject to individual requirements.