October 16, 2012

Ford and MobilityWorks Commercial offer wheelchair accessibility solution for nation's taxi fleets

Taxi operators looking for a fuel-efficient wheelchair-accessible vehicle have a new solution - Ford Transit Connect customised by MobilityWorks Commercial.

MobilityWorks Commercial is a national commercial van upfitter specialising in customising
vehicles for handicap access. A Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier, MobilityWorks Commercial recently completed and deployed the first Ford Transit Connect mobility vehicle as a New York City Taxi.

Since its introduction in 2010, Ford Transit Connect Taxi has entered service in major metropolitan areas from coast to coast.

"The strong taxi fleet sales we've seen for Transit Connect are proof that taxi operators are recognising the Transit Connect for its roominess, comfort and durability," said Len Deluca, Ford's North American Director of commercial vehicles. "A logical next step was to offer a mobility solution for taxi operators looking to comfortably and efficiently serve persons with disabilities."

The initial Transit Connect mobility taxi was purchased and put into service by Brooklyn-based McGuinness Management, which operates nearly 50 traditional cabs in Manhattan.

"I drove it personally and found it to be a lot more comfortable than any other taxi I've ever driven," said Chris Harisopoulos, General Manager, McGuinness Management. "The roominess is great thing about this vehicle for both passengers and drivers… It's just a great taxi."

The Transit Connect mobility taxi offers a number of benefits for the ambulatory and persons with disabilities, such as a rear wheelchair ramp to keep passengers out of passing traffic lanes and a short, lowered ramp to speed up entry and exit.

The exclusive FlexFlat ramp, a strong yet lightweight manual ramp, is fast and easy to deploy. When stowed it creates a useable deck for cargo - adding convenience for drivers and passengers alike.

"The Transit Connect mobility taxi offers drivers and passengers something you can't find in other accessible vehicles, including safety for all passengers, economical operating costs, ease of use and comfort," said Taylor Clark, President, Commercial Operations, MobilityWorks.

Before mobility upfit, Transit Connect Taxi offers an outstanding interior package for people and cargo. With its open architecture, the taxi provides excellent interior headroom and passenger visibility.

The taxi model's rear seat has been moved back three inches to maximise passenger comfort. With 6.5-inches of ground clearance, passengers can step easily through the dual sliding side doors. Additional climate control ventilation has been added for rear seat passenger comfort.

For its payload capacity, Transit Connect delivers unmatched fuel economy of 22 mpg city and 27 mpg highway for wagon models.

"We continue to see exceptional sales for the Transit Connect since its North American launch in 2009," said Kevin Koswick, Ford's North American Director of fleet, lease and remarketing operations. "The forthcoming introduction of the all-new Transit Connect in 2014 will further expand Ford's leadership in this segment, offering fleet owners, taxi operators, drivers and passengers additional improvements, refinements and choices."


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