If you've developed a medical condition or had an injury that makes it necessary to use a wheelchair for an extended time, you may fear you'll be housebound since you won't be able to drive. If you only need the wheelchair for a few months, then buying a wheelchair van isn't practical, and renting one could be very expensive. Here are some other options to look into.
Public Transportation Options
Call the bus lines that operate in your city to see if they have options for wheelchairs. Your city buses might have seats that flip up so wheelchairs can fit and be strapped in. If you don't live near a bus stop, there might be public programs that take you to a bus stop or your destination in a wheelchair van. Your wheelchair may be limited to a certain size if you ride on a city bus. If you need to have the legs extended, then public transportation might not be an option.
Wheelchair Van Transport Services
Ask your doctor's office about wheelchair van transportation services in your city. These services exist to take patients to their regular doctor's appointments. There might be an independent service, or it might be a program through the local ambulance company that also offers non-emergency wheelchair transportation services. Using one of these transportation services might even save money when you go on doctor's visits if the cost is covered by your insurance. If you need wheelchair transportation for personal reasons, you usually have to pay out of pocket.
Call all the taxi companies in your area to ask about wheelchair transportation to go to the store or restaurants. There may be a limited number of vans for wheelchair customers, so you might need to reserve one in advance. Be sure you ask about wheelchair vans specifically because these come with ramps to make it easy to get in the vehicle and they have straps that hold the wheelchair in place so you're safe when the van is moving.
The availability of wheelchair transportation varies by location. If you live in a large city or a city that's a tourist destination, you might find more options than if you live in a rural town. However, no matter where you live, there should be a solution to your transportation problem. Talk with your doctor, a social services agency, transportation companies, a local senior center, and your city services office to get leads on wheelchair transportation companies in your area that will help you stay mobile while you're in a wheelchair.