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[personal profile] sarah
The Kengaru is a hatchback electric car designed specifically for wheelchair users: the hatchback opens up, you roll right in, and it's driven using airplane-style controls.



This is a remarkable design, but the story of how Stacey Zorn made it a reality is even more amazing (link includes animated gifs and a video). The initial version is for manual chair users (expected to run ~$20,000), with a second model for power chair users coming next.
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[personal profile] roserodent
 I spoke to Megabus to try to book in to travel with my powered wheelchair. Let the stupid commence! I have a very unusual kind of powerchair which folds up without tools and very quickly to fit in the boot of a medium (European medium!) car boot (trunk). But they were not interested in weight or dimensions, electric wheelchairs are too big and too heavy, always. I asked what size of space they have - electric wheelchairs are too big. What dimensions can I take? It's too big, it cannot travel. It fits in a Kia Cee'd so I'm pretty sure it fits in the massive luggage compartment of a coach, what size of wheelchair can I bring? You can bring a "normal wheelchair" - whatever the heck that is. So I said what if I bring the batteries in a suitcase? No, it won't fit. OK, I say, I have changed my mind, I will bring a 32kg non powered wheelchair and a 25kg suitcase. That's fine, says agent, you don't even need to pre-book that. So I ask her does she realise she has agreed to exactly the same wheelchair provided that the batteries are inside a suitcase - instant backtrack: no, I never said you could bring that, I said I will find out for you. Weird, since I use captioned calls and I have a word for word transcript. For anyone who doens't use text, GA means "go ahead" it's like saying "over" on the radio it means the end of what you are saying and time for the other person to respond. I start on each occasion

"It will bbe 32kgg and I can probably make it go in 2 suitacses and one hang luggae. So that's one wheelchair, one suitcase and my hand luggage GA ill pop you on hold thanks.. holding.. Holding... Holding... Holding... thnks for holding for me i have spoken to control again gave themn the weight ive been told its been confrmed the only way we can accommodate that chair is by the passenger being sitting in the chari with the chair going on the bus on standard bus." so it's too heavy when it's 32kg and a suitcase and hand luggage. 




"OK, I changed my mind then,, I bring a 32kg manual chair, a suitacase and my huand luggage, ,how do I book this on the night service  GA if its just an iordinary wheelchair that folds down you dont have to book it  GA You realise you have just said that exactly the same chair fits... If I do not take the batteries and I put them in a suitaase and tell you it's a 32kgg manual chair, suuddently it is much smaller and will fit.  GA so your not going to take the batterys for the chair  GA I will put the battery in a suitacase and then it becomes a manual chair and I have a 25kg suticase with contents which is my personal business  GA your going to put an ordinary wheelchair 32sg in luggage holder and batterys in a suitcase GA Yes, which is exactly what I have been telling you all along but when you thought it was a n eee  electric wheelchair it was all kinds of problems. If it is a manua wheelchair when I give it to you, and I put the batteries in a case, it will fit. So clearly it fitted from the start of this conversation  GA ive not confirmed that yet .. am going to find out for you  GA No, ou said ifi t is an ordinary wheelchair I don't even need to book it. It wil be an ordinary wheelchair. THe content of the case is not relevant to the size, weight or other charactieristcis of the wheelchiar  GA hold on please.."

This is where I hung up...

These are some other snippets you may enjoy: (sorry, my typing sucks on this computer and there is no correct function with live typing)

" HOw about if you put the wheelchair part in teh hold and I book it as a manual chair and I will take the 2 small parts on teh bus with me as hand luggage and you don't nee dto worry about whether it's one things or another, I will hav eth ebattiers and you will handle the part which is not electric into the hold, any better?  GA no there will not be enough space  GA Ca you tell me on what baiss you have decided it will not fit? If a manual chair will fit and this is NOT BIGGER then how cann it suddely not fit?  GA its the weight you are allowed of luggae la allowance one standard suitacase one hand luggage if evreyone has one suitable stuitcase there isn ot not enough space to put the wheelchair parts GA The weight is also not more than I would bring as luggage as I have no suitcase ... yyou are clearly making lots of assumptions rather than asking questions... it is electric so you are immediately obstructive. You have no idea how heavy any part is, how much other                   luggage I have, how much luggage anyne else has, you have no idea what it weighs, but can confidently inform me that it is too heavy [...] you have the legal obligation to carry a wheelchair if it is *possible* not just if it meets some crieria you have decided apply. [...] What do you need to know about mmy chair to find out whether it will fit? Height? Width? Not just that it is electric!!  GA"

A clear case of determination to find electric wheelchairs conform to specific stereotypes and cannot possibly be not those things. The fact they assume it will be heavy does not change its ACTUAL weight! I decided it was not sufficiently worth my time and effort to fight this out this one time in order to go to the event I had wanted to attend, but this is not the end of this, once I have more time to fight them on it. 

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