Nissan brings first wheelchair-friendly taxis to South Africa

Rolling Inspiration
By Rolling Inspiration
3 Min Read

Say goodbye to the days of hoisting yourself (with or without assistance) into the passenger seat of a car, folding your wheelchair and possibly also removing its tyres. Now you can simply roll up and into your transport! Nissan is the first vehicle manufacturer in South Africa to offer wheelchair-friendly minibuses to meet the growing demand for safe, reliable transportation for people with disabilities.

It has developed a full conversion of its popular NV350 Impendulo to allow for a spacious carrier, a hydraulic lift, rear-facing seating and aluminium flooring to keep the wheelchair in position. Unlike most other minibuses, the interior seating in the Nissan NV350 Impendulo can be removed and a portion of it has been adapted to be rear-facing so that a wheelchair can fit comfortably inside.

Aluminium flooring in the rear-passenger section of the vehicle keeps wheelchairs safely in place while the vehicle is in use. The conversion makes maximum use of the available space within the vehicle. One of the most useful modifications is the hydraulic lift that gives wheelchair users easy access through the rear door.

Nissan, NV350 Impendulo, wheelchair accessible vehicle, adaptions

The mass ratings on the Impendulo are class-leading, which makes it an ideal platform for this type of conversion, as it minimises the chances of overloading. This is a key differentiating factor for the Impendulo compared with similar vehicles on the market. The converted vehicle meets regulatory standards and specifications, such as safety and technical requirements.

In addition to providing safe transport for people with a disability, the conversion is also ideal for a variety of applications, including hotel fleets, inter-hospital transportation and frail care. Wonga Mesatywa, director of corporate and general affairs at Nissan Group of Africa, notes: “We have received multiple enquiries about the modifications made to the vehicle. Unfortunately, many South Africans with disabilities have been excluded from mainstream society and have been prevented from accessing fundamental social, political and economic rights due to a variety of factors. Lack of access to adequate transport shouldn’t be one of them,” he concludes.

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  • gOOD MORNING. i AM THE SENIOR DISTRICT THERAPIST FOR THE WCED IN EDEN AND CENTRAL KAROO. I AM CURRENTLY ASSISTING A LEARNER IN BEAUFORT WEST WHO IS USING AN ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIR TO COMMUTE TO AND FROM SCHOOL. SHE TRAVELS A FEW KILOMETERS NEXT TO THE N1 WHICH IS A HUGE SAFETY CONCERN. SHE HAS A T4 MOTOR AND SENSORY BREAK IN HER SPINE AFTER BEING CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE WHEN TWO OPPOSING GANGS OPENED FIRE ON EACH OTHER. WE GOT HOLD OF A TAXI OWNER IN TOWN WHO IS WILLING TO ASSIST HER AND THE DRIVER IS ALSO WILLING TO ASSIST. I AM IN DESPERATE NEED OF ASSISTANCE IN ORDER TO FIND A WHEELCHAIR LIFT THAT COULD PICK HER UP IN HER CHAIR AND LIFT HER INTO THE BACK OF THE TAXI. IS THERE ANY WAY YOU COULD ASSIST WITH A LIST OF COMPANIES THAT MIGHT BE ABLE TO ASSIST ME? MAYBE PUT ME IN CONTACT WITH THE PERSON THAT DEVELOPED THE NEW RANGE OF NISSAN VEHICLES FITTED FOR WHEELCHAIR USERS? OUR OTHER OPTION IS TO USE A PORTABLE RAMP, BUT THAT CREATES ITS OWN SET OF SAFETY ISSUES. SHE IS A LOVELY GIRL AND ENJOYS SCHOOL TREMENDOUSLY. THE TAXI OWNER IS ALSO QUITE A WONDERFUL MAN AND IDENTIFIED THE NEED IN HIS TOWN FOR AN ACCESSIBLE TAXI. ANY ADVICE WOULD BE WELCOMED. tHANK YOU.

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