Lifts are easy, convenient and safe if used correctly. They give independence to the wheelchair user, with minimal effort. There are many different models with a variety of features. The correct lift must be carefully selected according to the size and weight of the wheelchair and user, and the door sizes of the vehicle.
- Automatic roll stop – a short lip which flips down onto the floor when in open position and stands up vertically when in use to prevent wheelchair rolling off the back.
- hand rails, and a bridging plate to bridge the gap between the platform and the vehicle.
Solid platform lifts – with a single or twin pillar depending on the weight capacity required. These are normally the cheapest options, but they take up space inside the vehicle and they can rattle during travelling. When in the stowed position, the platform lift blocks the doorway for use by other passengers, and if it has a solid platform it may block the drivers view out of the rear window.
Split platform – folds vertically in half, with each half stowed to one side, to allow access through the door as well as improved visibility. An advantage is that in the case of an emergency it is possible to exit through the lift, while other models block the exit.
Tri-fold or Roll-up platform – The platform is split into sections. When it is stowed inside the vehicle, if stands vertically but rolls up to one side of the door opening to allow for entry around the lift.
Under Vehicle Lifts (UVL or Cassette lifts) have the platform suspended under the floor of the vehicle, thus allowing maximum use of the internal space, without limiting door access. Can only be used on vehicles with a high ground clearance, but they are high maintenance due to being exposed to the weather. Although this is the most convenient solution in terms of space saving, it is not recommended for SA road conditions due to the number of potholes and inconsistent speed bump heights.