Ford Adds Wheelchair Lift to Employee Shuttle Service
Ford Motor Company touts one of its company’s seven truths — doing the right thing — as the guiding principle that brought together several teams to add a wheelchair lift to one of the Ford Transit shuttles used at its Dearborn campus. The upgrade to one of the campus’s shuttles was the result of a collaboration between members of the ride services team, commercial services team, and Ford Empowering Diverse Abilities employee resource group.
“It’s a really good example of ‘do the right thing’ because in many cases, everyone is super busy and it would’ve been very easy for people to say, ‘Yeah, I understand it makes sense that we should do it, but I’m just too busy,’” said Jim Holland, vice president of vehicle components and systems engineering, and Product Development Diversity Council executive chairperson. “This was the right thing to do.”
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The effect of adding a wheelchair lift to one of the shuttles is a major reduction in the time ahead an employee had to reserve transportation. Employees bound to wheelchairs previously had to reserve a ride 48 hours in advance, but that number has now been cut to 24 hours.
The idea of collaboration is quite key in the modification of the van, with BraunAbility donating the equipment necessary for the lift and Gresham Driving Aids providing a cut rate for installation. While John Scholtes, special vehicle engineering chief program engineer, notes that only five calls for wheelchair services were made in 2017, he anticipates that the addition of the more capable shuttle and easier booking will increase that number.
“It was a self-fulfilling prophecy that we didn’t have (wheelchair capability),” he said. “Now that it’s here, it will be like ‘Field of Dreams’ — if you build it, they will come.”
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