If the title didn’t already give it away, then this spoiler will. Our wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) had a breakdown and needed to be repaired. It happened as we were heading to the airport to catch a flight. This is how we dealt with it and some advice to you if/when your Motability Scheme vehicle breaks down.
How Did Our WAV Break Down?
It was as simple as pulling off our driveway when our wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) suddenly came to a halt.
At first, we thought the car had stalled. Jumped out of gear possibly. My partner, Allan tried to start it up. Nothing. He tried again and again. Nothing. We waited for a few minutes and tried again. Nothing. It was completely dead.
This could not have happened at a more inconvenient time. We had a five-hour car journey to get on with and a flight to catch. Of course, breaking down is never convenient but why could it not have happened when we were nipping to the supermarket. Not the moment we are going on a trip. Typical!
The only positive to come from it was that it happened in our street, just a few doors from our home and not in the middle of the motorway halfway to Manchester. That would have created even more problems. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that.
I’ve never seen a WAV broken down on the motorway before. Where does the wheelchair user go in those circumstances? We can’t step over the metal barrier and wait on the verge so what is the protocol in that situation? Do we stay put in the car and wait?
Thankfully one of our neighbours noticed we were having some car trouble. He came out and helped Allan push the car over to the side of the street.
What To Do When Your Motability Scheme WAV Breaks Down
Internally I was panicking and worried I’d have to cancel our trip to Portugal. We had to act quick. These are the steps we took as soon as we realised the car wouldn’t start up again.
1. Call RAC Motability Assist
I called RAC Motability Assist which is the Motability breakdown phone number and within 25 minutes the roadside mechanic was with us. He hooked the car up to his computer and quickly diagnosed a problem with the fuel pump.
We were hopeful it would be an easy fix, but unfortunately, the mechanic explained it had to go to our nearest Peoples Ford garage for repair.
The RAC mechanic was helpful and accommodating. He made sure we took all our belongings and anything we may need out the car.
2. Call Motability To Arrange Alternative Travel
After several calls with Motability, I was passed to a company called Proximo who deal with arranging alternative methods of travel on behalf of Motability.
The only way we would get from Scotland to Manchester Airport was if we had another car. Not any car. A wheelchair-accessible car. If you have a wheelchair accessible car and it has broken down, then you will know that it’s not easy to get a replacement quickly.
The standard time for delivery of a wheelchair accessible car is usually around 52 hours. If you are a Motability Scheme customer then they will do their best to keep you mobile while they organise a hire vehicle or until your car is fixed.
In the meantime, the Motability Scheme will arrange and pay for public transportation/taxis to get you from A to B.
Whereas if you need a standard hire car without adaptations, you can get one straight away.
3. Arranging A Temporary Replacement Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle
Like many disabled people, I am heavily reliant on my wheelchair accessible car. It’s not until I don’t have my car that I realise just how much I rely upon and need it to get about.
To my surprise, Proximo mentioned the possibility of arranging a taxi to drive us to Manchester (I’m not going to lie, I hated the thought of having to do that) if a temporary courtesy car was not possible or if the taxi was a cheaper option.
After many calls and hours later, the phone rang and we heard the words we didn’t want to hear. “We can arrange a hire car but the earliest we can get it out to you will be sometime tomorrow and that is really pushing it.”
My heart sank. I was devastated at the thought of cancelling our trip.
The case manager offered to call the hire car company’s local branch and ask if it was possible to bring the car out to us that night. Although he believed it was highly unlikely.
Finally, things were looking up. The branch manager at the hire car company heard our story and said he couldn’t let us miss our flight. He personally drove the car to us and arrived around 6pm that night.
Portugal was back on!
I appreciate on this occasion it worked out and we were able to take delivery of a temporary replacement WAV, but unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out like that.
I wish it was easier to get a wheelchair accessible car, just like it is to get a standard hire car.
4. Arranging Collection Of Hire Care
Our WAV was in the garage for a week and a half until the repair work was complete (a new fuel pump). Once complete, Peoples Ford returned our WAV to us.
I then called Proximo and informed them our car was repaired and we no longer needed the hire car. They arranged collection that same day and within two hours someone had collected it from our home address.
If only it was that quick for people to get a wheelchair accessible hire vehicle delivered than it is for it to be taken back!
Tips When Your Motability Scheme WAV Breaks Down
- Call RAC Motability Assist on 0800 73 111 73
- RAC Motability Assist will try to fix your vehicle at the roadside, but if not, they will take it to the nearest repair garage.
- Call Motability and explain the situation. They will then start off the process of arranging alternative methods of travels e.g taxi or hire car.
- Motability will collect your personal details and ask about the breakdown. They will ask if you have any hospital/doctor appointments, medical emergencies etc.
- Motability will liaise with the company arranging transport (i.e Proximo)
- You will be assigned a case manager from Proximo who will deal with your case until your WAV is repaired and returned to you.
Has your Motability Scheme vehicle had a breakdown? Did you manage to get a replacement quickly?