I didn’t think we needed a WAV until we tried one. And now I’m not so sure.
I thought a WAV was for people who can’t transfer out of their wheelchairs. How wrong was I?
Bridget can transfer from her wheelchair, but we hired a WAV anyway, and it’s left me wondering whether we should look at a WAV for our next car.
The WAV we hired was the Ford Independence from Allied Mobility Hire.
We used the WAV on a weekend break in Snowdonia in North Wales. I’ll tell you how we got on with North Wales later.
But first, let me tell you about Allied Mobility Hire and their Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle hire service.
Allied Mobility WAV Hire
Allied Mobility is the UK’s leading WAV supplier. Less well known, they are also one of the UK’s leading WAV hire companies.
Trading since 1993, Allied Mobility is the largest supplier of wheelchair-accessible vehicles via the Motability Scheme.
With outlets in Glasgow and Coventry, Allied Mobility Hire can hire WAVs anywhere in the mainland UK.
In other words, if you hire a WAV, you do so safely in the knowledge you’re dealing with a reputable, professional company.
Why Hire a WAV?
I can think of a bunch of reasons to hire a WAV. Here are three for starters:
#1 If Your WAV is Off the Road
The first reason to hire a WAV will be if your WAV is off the road.
Allied Mobility already supplies WAVs to the Motability scheme. They will try to offer you an identical vehicle and can work directly with Motability to recoup the costs.
#2 To Try Before You Buy
Many of you are considering buying a WAV or leasing one on the Motability scheme.
But it’s a big commitment, so it makes perfect sense to try before you buy.
Not only try a WAV before you buy or lease but try it over a longer period to make sure it’s right for you.
And this is where the Allied Mobility WAV Hire Scheme comes into its own.
You can choose from a range of wheelchair-accessible vehicles, configure it as you need, and experience it in a more natural environment rather than a quick test drive.
#3 To Make Lengthy Trips More Accessible
My third reason for hiring a WAV is to make a long trip or holiday more accessible and comfortable.
I say this because how we travel means we’re in and out of the car visiting places, for toilet breaks and taking photos.
This means getting the WHILL out of the boot, assembling it, disassembling it and putting it back in the boot. It’s easy enough to do, but it’s time-consuming.
When you travel in a WAV, you drive your wheelchair fully assembled and move it back out. We saved loads of time, and it was a less repetitive strain on me, so a win-win.
Bridget didn’t need to stay in her wheelchair while I was driving, so she rode her chair in and transferred into one of the rear seats.
I thought she wouldn’t like travelling in the back, but she enjoyed it because she was in control and more independent than how we usually travel.
How to Hire a WAV?
Visit the Allied Mobility WAV Hire page and have a mooch at the WAVs on offer.
You can rent small wheelchair-accessible vehicles like the Peugeot Rifter Horizon, medium-sized ones like the Ford Custom Independence we had or a large WAV like the Peugeot Boxer Spirit.
Everything you need to know before hiring a vehicle is on the website. If details are missing, you can ring the customer care team, who can answer any questions you may have.
Here’s their phone number: 0808 159 2528
If you want a quote, you can request a quote by filling in a simple form instead of jumping on the phone.
I found the phone calls with Rebecca and Janet useful because I could discuss our specific needs, including seat configuration.
We hadn’t decided how Bridget would travel in the WAV. These phone calls put my mind at rest that we didn’t have to as long as we had a vehicle to suit all eventualities.
What’s Included When You Hire a WAV?
The WAV arrived with a quarter of a tank of diesel. When you return the vehicle, you must return it with the same amount of fuel.
Allied Mobility Hire arranged insurance and breakdown cover for the WAV, so we didn’t need to worry about that.
You must be healthy enough to hire a vehicle and have a suitable driving licence.
You also supply your driver number, which you get from DVLA. Don’t worry; it’s all done online, and Allied Mobility Hire will send you clear instructions on how to do it.
How Do You Get Your WAV?
You can collect your rental vehicle from Allied Mobility Hire hubs in Glasgow and Coventry.
Alternatively, you can request the WAV be delivered to and collected from your home address (fees apply).
WAV Home Delivery
The handover is straightforward. I spoke with the Allied Mobility Hire customer care team the night before delivery, and they told me what to expect from the driver.
On the morning of delivery, the driver rang me to give me a specific time for delivery.
Upon delivery, the driver showed me everything working, including the wheelchair ramp and hoist. I was glad because I hadn’t used a car wheelchair ramp or hoist before.
As you always do when hiring a car, we inspected the WAV for any damages, checked the fuel level and completed the handover paperwork.
The handover staff and collection staff were friendly, professional and knowledgeable.
We Hired a Ford Custom Independence WAV
We were originally going to hire a Peugeot Rifter, but after speaking with the customer care team, we decided on the Ford Custom Independence because it was bigger.
When it arrived, it was cavernous; bigger was an understatement.
The vehicle was on a 70 plate, so it was fairly new. It was spotlessly clean and had all the driving functions you’d expect on a car this age.
You have a choice of transmissions. I went for an automatic gearbox because that’s what I currently drive. I’m glad I did because it made the welsh country roads and hills no effort at all.
If you are considering hiring a Ford Independence from Allied Mobility Hire, please be aware it is a high vehicle. If you are not using the wheelchair ramp, stepping up into it is quite high.
The main reason to hire a WAV is its accessibility features, and the Ford Custom Independence had plenty.
If you’re using a wheelchair, you access the vehicle through the rear door.
There is an access ramp. It’s not steep, so the incline wasn’t a problem. I believe they achieve this angle by lowering the floor.
The ramp is on hydraulics, so it goes up and down with virtually no effort.
If you need help getting up the ramp, there is a remote control winch to take the strain. Bridget didn’t need it, but we had a go anyway.
Safety and Security
I have always wondered how secure the person sitting in the wheelchair is, and I needn’t worry because the passenger’s safety is paramount.
Four anchors strap the wheelchair securely to the floor. Then the passenger uses a seatbelt for additional safety. It’s a brilliant system and works better than I expected.
Driving Around North Wales in a WAV
The trip was more about trying the WAV than sightseeing, but we still managed to revisit some of our favourite places in North Wales.
Watch the Video
The Greate Orme and Llandudno
We booked a hotel in Caernafon for a few nights. On the way, we stopped in Llandudno and drove up the Great Orme.
If you’ve never been to Llandudno, I highly recommend it.
It has a very pleasant promenade for a wheelchair walk, a typical seaside pier which is accessible and a lovely town centre full of quaint shops.
I love driving up the Great Orme, and the WAV was even more enjoyable because of the driving position.
Once on top of the Orme, you are rewarded with stunning views over the Snowdonia mountain range.
Snowdonia Scenic Drive
Our second excursion in North Wales was a circular route around Mount Snowdon.
The changing landscape as you drive around the Snowdonia loop is breathtaking.
First Experience Driving a WAV
Our first experience using a WAV was wholly positive, and I would go as far as to say it was much better than I expected.
The WAV was comfortable, handled the country roads with ease, and made short work of the steep climbs and descents.
In all, we probably spent five hours on the Snowdon loop, and it didn’t take its toll on us like it normally would, which is a testament to the comfort of the WAV.
Would I Recommend Hiring a WAV from Allied Mobility Hire?
From start to finish, the process of hiring a WAV was simple.
I was struck by the knowledge and professionalism of each staff member I interacted with.
I felt like I mattered. More importantly, Bridget’s needs mattered.
The WAV itself was brilliant. I would consider hiring a WAV again from Allied Mobility Hire, assuming we don’t get one when our car is up for renewal.
If you need to hire a WAV, short or long-term, I have no hesitation in recommending Allied Mobility Hire.
*We hired this WAV on a complimentary basis for purposes of review.