Running a taxi firm is often hard work, but it can also prove to be a very profitable business venture. If all of your hard work is paying off and you're looking to expand your fleet, you may wish to consider adding an accessible car to your range. With approximately 1 in 5 Australians affected by some form of disability, people with disabilities represent a significant portion of the population and a market that should not be ignored. As the owner of growing business, consider the following information to ensure that you are providing the best possible service to your customers with disabilities.
Clearly, space is at a premium in most taxis. As a general rule, bigger is better in providing any form of accessible transportation. Beyond simply accommodating manual wheelchair users, guide dog owners require greater room, as do people walking with crutches. Electric powered wheelchairs vary in size and represent the greatest challenge for taxi firms. However, in addition to accommodating disabled customers, larger cars with folding seats also allow for larger bookings, seating up to 7 non-disabled passengers. This greater capacity is just one more reason to opt for a larger vehicle, at the upper end of your budget.
Provide Ramp Access
Some accessible vehicles are fitted with a step, but this is insufficient for many disabled people. Look instead to include a fold-down ramp, catering both to wheelchair users and ambulant people with disabilities (i.e. those walking with crutches, or those with visual impairments). Wheelchair restraint straps should ideally be fitted within the taxi to secure the chair for the duration of the journey. Small details such as this will be greatly appreciated by your customers.
Ensure your drivers are well prepared to assist disabled customers before they take to the roads. Contact your local organisation for those with disabilities for advice on proper etiquette and for tips on providing a satisfying transport experience. This will certainly pay off in the long run by avoiding negative experiences with customers, and this simple act of outreach will itself serve to notify potential customers of the existence your business – everybody wins!
The Bottom Line
As an initial outlay for your small business, purchasing a large accessible vehicle may seem expensive or even risky; however, it should be seen as a valuable investment which opens up a significant market which would otherwise remain out of reach. People with disabilities are, unfortunately, well-accustomed to subpar experiences with transportation, but this simply means that good services are valued that much more highly. By providing a good service, you will develop a reputation as an accommodating and trustworthy business, ensuring repeated custom and, most likely, a steady supply of referred clients.