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Disability markets

As you know the car has been out of action for over 3 weeks and last nights video showed how stressed and tired I’ve become for it. Having got my car back and calmed down I have looked at the occurences more objectively and want to share my thoughts.

So I have had a new car since early August due to my older van being too large, uneconomical and the new Motability scheme being recommended. The benefit of the new scheme is that I receive a new car, adapted for me to drive, with insurance and servicing covered too. This was in return for a nominal up-front fee (varying with the financial means test carried out) and foregoing the mobility part of my monthly government money (paid due to the known extra costs of being disabled).

The financial assessment and adapting of the car was smooth, unlike 6 years ago when getting my first van. Historically the paperwork and preparation was so time draining it put people off even looking. If you want info on the assessment stage and learning to drive please email me.

The problems started after I collected the vehicle around 2 months ago. Since I have had to take the car to the garage 3 times, twice it was towed for the same fault and the recent time took over 3 weeks to mend it.

The effect is not being able to get in the tow truck and being stranded at the breakdown location, while the breakdown company take the car away. Once home I am stuck in London as the train station near my parents is too far and there is no way to go from the station to theirs. In London I have to go everywhere with my PAs unlike driving my car alone. Many buses refuse access especially in rush hour which is when I’m going to work due to “no room for the wheelchair”, “ramp doesnt work” or “wait for the next one, there’s a pram on”. In arriving later to work and stressed, I have had to keep chasing the garage and Motability to see where the cars progress is.

I decided yesterday that the process and system could be improved. The breakdown company, Motability and the garage either pass the buck or more likely do believe its simply not their responsibility with each scenario.

From my point it cant be assumed I can keep spending my working day arranging all of this and driving back and forth to the garage every other week. Also I have paid for a car, as well as forgone monthly income for it, yet I have barely used it. As a customer/purchaser this cant be right.

It comes back to intervention. Without the government run Motability scheme I could not afford to drive. This is not a private market. In the realms of that the breakdown company need their cut for towing, they still should be more aware that if a customer cant get in the tow truck on a Sunday they can help out beyond the “policy guidelines” to help that person home. The garage needs to be paid for their knowledge, time and technology, which they are. But once they’ve adapted the vehicle for larger sums of money, their after sales service should be just as apt as if there were many other places vying for my business. Unfortunately this is a sellers market with little enforcement of standards due to fact the government will pay for the work regardless, but no accountability from delayed times and inefficiencies on the customers are considered. A market based on social values – disabled people driving and being independent – does not have the social business model that should be demanded.

Without intervention the demand of certain products is too small to stimulate the supply. So if the ideal market generally is a government stimulated one, they need to ensure a contract is won on strict terms of before and after sales service. Maybe the customer should be contacted to discuss their experience of the process to review this. However until alternative adaptation specialists are in abundance it feels like one is metaphorically over a barrel with no alternative. If you buy food at a restaurant you don’t like, you go somewhere else right?

I have fed these views from my personal view to Motability and I hope they will enforce these improvements through the process for me and for others. Will keep you posted on the response in up to 5 working days 🙂