Nissan’s wheelchair-friendly taxis a first
has become the first manufacturer in South Africa to offer wheelchairfriendly vehicles to the taxi industry in order to meet the growing demand for safe, reliable transportation for people living with disabilities.
The company has developed a full conversion of its popular NV350 Impendulo, transforming the vehicle into a spacious carrier suitable for disabled passengers including hydraulic lift, rearfacing seating and aluminium flooring which helps to keep wheelchairs in position.
The converted Impendulo, only released in August, is attracting interest and enquires from several sectors, including in the Eastern Cape where the vehicle has already been deployed within regional health departments.
“There is a definite need for more public transport facilities that cater for people living with physical disabilities,” says Wonga Mesatywa, director, corporate and general affairs at Nissan Group of Africa.
With taxis transporting approximately 15 million commuters daily, according to the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco), and approximately 7,5% of the country’s population regarded as having a disability, many disabled people remain unable to access this vital mode of transport. They are therefore excluded from gaining meaningful employment or education opportunities, and participating in the economy. senger section of the vehicle also keeps wheelchairs safely in place while it is in use. The conversion makes maximum use of the available space within the vehicle. One of the most useful modifications to the vehicle is the hydraulic lift that allows people in wheelchairs to have easy access through the rear door. The fact that Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) mass ratings on the Impendulo are class leading, makes it an ideal platform for this type of conversion because it minimises the chances of overloading.
This is a key differentiating factor for the Impendulo compared to similar veNISSAN hicles on the market.
The converted vehicle has achieved homologation, meaning it meets regulatory standards and specifications, such as safety and technical requirements.
In addition to providing safe transport for physically disabled members of society, the conversion is also ideal for a variety of applications including hotel fleets, inter-hospital transportation and frail care.
“The conversion was only released last month but it has already been well received and we have received multiple enquiries about the modifications made to the vehicle,” says Mesatywa. — WR.
In the converted Nissan Impendulo minibus, the seats fold away and a ramp lifts wheelchair users into the space.