Wheelchair bicycle taxi service in Finland
Jimmy Gustafson has a wheelchair taxi service in the town of Porvoo, Finland. With the Van Raam VeloPlus wheelchair transport bike they cycle 5 days a week from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m. and they transport 4 to 8 people on a day, these are mainly elderly people.
Wheelchair bike for reaching 35-year milestone
Jimmy Gustafson is the owner of Jimlog, a taxi service company in Porvoo (Finland). His father was the first one with a wheelchair taxi company (Gustafsons Taxi) in Porvoo. With the 35-year milestone, Jim wanted to honor his father,his father’s company and all the long-lasting customers with the purchase of a Van Raam VeloPlus wheelchair bicycle in the spring of 2017. This wasn't something he had planned for a while, but it was a spontaneous action based on a discussion with some friends. There' s a bicycle taxi service in Porvoo for ordinary people but there was nothing for those who need it the most: those who are in a wheelchair. In this article, Jimmy will tell you more about his VeloPlus wheelchair transport bike.
'After I bought the wheelchair bike, I asked the town of Porvoo if they wanted to develop this service together. Last year, three people were employed for the summer, this year we only have been able to employ one person for 4 hours a day. When it is busy I sometimes cycle myself. Unfortunately, there is very limited finances for such service nowadays and we are doing this service ‘pro bono’. But then again, due to the joy it brings it is worth it and it generates locally a good marketing source.'
The wheelchair transport bike as a taxi
The service Jimmy offers is a taxi service. They only bicycle themselves and they transport people in a wheelchair.
“When we received the VeloPlus wheelchair bike, we had to get to know the bike first. We checked out the ‘difficult places’, like the knobble stones in the old town of Porvoo and measured the pavements and checked difficult crossings to make it as safe as possible for the clients. That is also the reason we do not rent out the entire bike. We are now familiar with the bike. Someone who is not familiar with the bike might get an accident and the whole bike would get a bad reputation. We will take mainly elderly for a ride, but sometimes we take school children, whosits in a wheelchair, for a ride.”
Feeling safe on a wheelchair bike
Jimmy finds the bike very stable. When they first introduced the bike and Jimmy cycled with the first customers, he was very nervous whether they would feel insecure. This was not the case.
“On the launching day we had made 20 bicycle rides and none of them felt scared or uncomfortable. This proved instantly that the bike is very well developed. We will never cycle too fast and always ask the person who is sitting in the wheelchair of he/she is comfortable. The mechanism for loading/unloading a wheelchair can be done alone, without help from an outsider. The battery is strong enough and we can cycle for a whole day and the support from the “engine” you will get is more than enough.”
Friends and family can cycle along. Jimmy has two standard bikes that they rent out for free for those who want to ride along. They realized this was a good solution for when someone in the wheelchair does not feel safe. If they see a familiar person in front of them, they feel a lot safer.
Jimmy has also written a short user experience about the VeloPlus. Interested in his user experience?
Using the bike in the city of Porvoo
The city of Porvoo, Finland placed this video on their local Facebook page.
Interested in the wheelchair transport bike?
The VeloPlus is a wheelchair transport bicycle. People can be transported in their own wheelchair. The passenger does not have to be transported from the wheelchair to the bicycle. The passenger can be wheeled on to the plateau of the cycle easily without having to be lifted. The tilted ramp makes it easy to roll the wheelchair on the bicycle and the wheelchair will be well-secured thanks to the wheelchair lock. Learn more about the wheelchair bicycle in the article 'A Van Raam wheelchair bike in your daily life' or about Van Raam bikes as a bicycle taxi in the article 'Special needs bicycles as a bicycle taxi for the elderly'.
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