If you have a ride, you can have an adventure. The ability to access transportation connects people to each other, to life experiences, and to essential services. Whether traveling by taxi, rideshare, bus, train, plane, or even bicycle, you want to feel that each transit company has you in mind and appreciates your being a customer. This goes for able-bodied people as well as those who may have disabilities that affect their ability to move, see, hear or use their limbs. In case you’re wondering if making a way for differently-abled people to come aboard your ride is worth it, here are eight compelling reasons to consider.
1. By providing transportation for people with disabilities, you help them remain more independent. Typically, once people lose the ability to be mobile and get from one place to the other, they become more dependent on others and quality of life suffers. Going to the park, library, government center or doctor’s office with ease can help those with limitations stay active and happier.
2. Attract whole families with your transportation services by making sure you have the right access for aging grandparents or other relatives who may be disabled. Families love traveling together, whether it’s to dinner, a graduation, or a vacation. If you can’t accommodate one member of a family group, then you run the risk of losing business from the whole family.
3. Earn more revenue and gain repeat clients by making sure you have modifications, such as lifts, ramps, paths for wheelchairs, and different ways of opening doors. Did you know that Americans with disabilities spend $17.3 billion annually on transportation? In addition, you stand to make even more money from friends and family who accompany them and must also pay for travel costs.
4. Earn the reputation of caring about people and the community. Your accessible transportation may boost your reputation. Companies get additional business through word-of-mouth and good reviews. When people hear that all customers, including those with disabilities, are satisfied with your accommodations and services, they will have a favorable opinion of you.
5. It’s the law. By complying with the law voluntarily you show you have respect for civil rights and equal rights.
6. No citations. If you make the effort to provide handicap accessible transportation, you won’t have to worry about mail from attorneys or costly citations from the government. You can save court money and funnel it into the business.
7. By providing access to disabled travelers, travel for everyone will be more convenient. When transportation companies have to spontaneously figure out how to accommodate someone arriving in a wheelchair or on a walker, it delays departure and arrival times, frustrates staff, and requires the labor of making special arrangements on the spot. The biggest troubles for the disabled have been finding staff to help them or finding a place for their equipment, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. It’s best to be proactive.
8. You will have fewer injuries associated with your transportation service. Often when people with disabilities find they don’t have proper access for traveling, they do not abandon the trip. Some will try to find a way over steps or down aisles. It can be very unsafe. This could lead to serious trouble.
Have a thriving business, expanded clientele, more money, good reviews and a clear conscience by providing access and a path to more independence for disabled riders and those who ride with them. If you’re unsure where to begin, The Department of Transportation offers a handbook for help. Partnering with an advocacy group for those with disabilities is also a good way to obtain guidance.