Specification for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

1. Vehicle requirements, safety and comfort

1.1. Any vehicle to be licensed must have Category M GB Type Approval (or equivalent) shown on the registration document. Converted vehicles must have one of the following certificates -European Whole Vehicle Type Approval / Individual Type Approval (IVA) or European low volume Type Approval (or GB equivalent once published)

1.2. The vehicle must be capable of accommodating at least one wheelchair, in either a forward or rear facing position whilst the passenger remains seated in the wheelchair allowing adequate space to ensure the safety and comfort of the wheelchair user, and without interfering with the safety and comfort of any other passengers

1.3. If a vehicle is side loading and requires the wheelchair to be turned in order to be in a forward or rear facing position, there shall be sufficient space for the wheelchair to be manoeuvred safely and comfortably

1.4. The passenger compartment must have sufficient space to safely and comfortably accommodate an assistance dog accompanying a passenger and at least one additional passenger

1.5. The design of the vehicle must ensure that any wheelchair is loaded from the side or the rear of the vehicle

1.6. The vehicle must be right-hand drive

1.7. Windows must be provided at the rear and sides along with means of opening and closing not less than one window on either side

1.8. All surfaces over which a wheelchair user may travel shall have a slip resistant finish applied

1.9. Handrails / handholds must be provided for passengers entering / exiting the vehicle and when manoeuvring inside the vehicle

1.10. Handrails and handholds shall be slip resistant, capable of being easily and firmly gripped and visually contrast with surroundings

2. Access & Egress

2.1. The vehicle shall have a minimum 4 doors, which are capable of being opened from the inside. The rear passenger compartment must have a minimum of two openable doors

2.2. All doors used for passenger access and egress must have mechanism to positively hold them open

2.3. The vertical distance between the highest part of the floor and door lintel (doorway height) in order to gain access into the wheelchair passenger area must be no less than 1.23 metres

2.4. The doorway used for wheelchair boarding must have a minimum width of 75cm

2.5. The vertical distance between the highest part of the floor and the roof in the wheelchair passenger area must be no less than 1.35 metres

2.6. Access to and exit from the wheelchair position must not be obstructed in any manner at any time except by wheelchair loading apparatus

3. Boarding Ramps & Lifts

3.1. If the means of entry to the vehicle is by use of a ramp, a single one-piece ramp with a minimum width (between the rails) of 70cm shall be provided

3.2. The single ramp must be of a suitable design to ensure that it does not slip or tilt when in use and provide a suitable gradient when in use

3.3. The single ramp must accommodate all four wheels of a wheelchair to load and unload persons wishing to travel in the vehicle whilst remaining seated in their wheelchair

3.4. All ramps must have a safety lip on each side and the edges should be highlighted to reduce the risk of trips

3.5. Ramps used for loading passengers in wheelchairs must have visible marked reference to a safe working load (SWL) of at least 250kgs and certification to BS 6109 (as amended)

3.6. Ramps and lifts must be securely stored in the vehicle before it may move

3.7. Where a manual / portable ramps are used, such ramps must have a designated stowage location which can store the equipment such that it does not present a risk of injury

3.8. Where a vehicle features mechanical, hydraulic or pneumatic lifting equipment for the purpose of loading and unloading passengers, the Council will have regard to the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER), and will require evidence of thorough examination of such by a competent person at least once every 6 months. Records of the most recent inspection should be kept until the equipment is re-inspected

3.9. The edge of any ramp or lift surface shall be highlighted and emphasised by a band of a contrasting colour

4. Anchorages & Restraints

4.1. Anchorages compliant with ISO 10542-1 ‘Wheelchair Tie-down and Occupant Restraint System’ (WTORS) must be provided for the wheelchair. These anchorages must be either chassis or floor linked and capable of withstanding approved dynamic or static tests

4.2. Where removable anchorages and restraints are used, such equipment must have a designated stowage location which can store the equipment such that it does not present a risk of injury

4.3. The anchorage must be secured in such a position as not to obstruct any emergency exit

4.4. Wheelchair internal anchorage must be installed and fitted by a competent person able to verify in a professional capacity that it has been fitted in accordance with all relevant legislative safety standards and requirements

4.5. Restraints for the wheelchair and occupant must be independent of each other

4.6. All passenger seats shall have three-point fully operational diagonal seatbelts, one for each passenger carried, fully compliant with British Standards

5. General

5.1. Once licensed, a vehicle must at all times remain compliant with all of the conditions detail above, under which it was first licensed or renewed, regardless of the nature of work it is carrying out.

5.2. Buckinghamshire Council believes its specification makes available a wide range of vehicles for owners and users alike. However, it also accepts that certain one-off adapted vehicles can also meet these needs, provided they are converted to a high standard and gain any necessary certification. Drivers who wish to present such a vehicle do so entirely at their own risk as each one will only be validated and accepted for testing after a visual inspection, along with a V5 and certificate check by a Licensing Officer. Buckinghamshire Council previously accepting a similar vehicle is not a guarantee that a vehicle presented will also be accepted because, by definition, these vehicles are individually produced and therefore will be individually assessed