A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right Wheelchair Lift Bus

wheelchair lift bus - Schetky Bus and Van Sales

Inclusive transportation isn’t just about getting from point A to point B — it’s about empowering individuals with mobility limitations to live a life without boundaries. Choosing the right wheelchair lift bus (WLB) is the first step toward creating a truly inclusive and accessible transportation solution. Every decision you make, from capacity and safety features to maintenance and fuel efficiency, directly impacts the well-being and independence of individuals who rely on wheelchairs for mobility.

The United States Department of Transportation reports that around 25.5 million Americans self-reported having difficulty traveling due to disability. Researchers also found that 70% of the respondents reduced their travel because of their physical limitations, while some had no choice but to stay home. The study also showed that they are less likely to own a car than other people of the same age.

To create a safe and reliable means of transport for wheelchair users, there are a number of essential factors to consider when purchasing one.

What is a wheelchair lift bus?

A wheelchair lift bus is a specialized vehicle designed to provide accessible transportation for individuals with mobility limitations. These buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts or ramps, allowing passengers who use wheelchairs to board and disembark safely and conveniently.

When buying a WLB, it is crucial to consider several key factors that directly impact the accessibility, safety and overall travel experience of individuals with mobility limitations. Carefully evaluate these factors, make an informed decision and choose a wheelchair lift bus that best meets your specific needs and requirements.

To ensure that your purchase provides inclusive and efficient transportation solutions for individuals with mobility challenges, there are some essential factors to consider.

What should you consider when buying a wheelchair lift bus?

When purchasing a WLB, prioritizing the needs of individuals with mobility limitations and ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are top priorities By carefully considering the following factors, organizations and individuals can make informed decisions that contribute to a seamless and inclusive transportation solution:


Determine how many passengers you need to transport, including any individuals who use wheelchairs. Consider whether there’s a need for additional space for luggage or equipment. Failure to consider capacity can lead to overcrowding, discomfort and potential safety hazards during transit.


Make sure the wheelchair lift is easy to use and can accommodate all types of wheelchairs. Consider also the location of the lift and whether it is easily accessible from the ground. Neglecting accessibility can result in limited or restricted mobility for passengers, hindering their ability to participate in activities and experiences fully.

A survey conducted by the University of Pittsburg showed that 44% of wheelchair-related accidents involving vehicles happen during entrance to or exit from it. The study further stated that there were 58.4% more accidents involving lifts than using ramps. Research conducted by the University of Louisville yielded similar data.

Safety Features

Ensuring the safety and well-being of passengers is paramount when purchasing a WLB. Crucial safety features like wheelchair tie-downs, securement systems and emergency exits should be carefully considered. These features play a vital role in protecting passengers during transit.

It is important to note that one study published by the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development proved that accidents and incidents involving wheelchairs in buses often occur due to the non-use or misuse of these safety features. Neglecting to utilize safety features properly can put passengers at risk, leading to potential injuries and legal consequences. Therefore, it’s imperative to prioritize education and training on the proper use of safety features for both passengers and staff to promote a culture of safety and minimize the likelihood of accidents.

Maintenance and Repairs

Consider the availability of replacement parts and the cost of maintenance and repairs. Regular maintenance and prompt repairs are vital for ensuring the reliable operation of the bus. Neglecting proper maintenance and repair considerations can result in frequent breakdowns, costly repairs and service disruptions.

Fuel Efficiency

Choose a fuel-efficient bus to save on operating costs and reduce environmental impact. Opting for a fuel-efficient vehicle not only helps with cost savings but also contributes to sustainability efforts by reducing carbon emissions.


Look for a WLB with comfortable seats and amenities like air conditioning, especially if you plan to use it for long trips. Passenger comfort is essential for providing a positive travel experience and ensuring their satisfaction.
Insurance and Licensing
Ensure the bus is properly licensed and insured for commercial use. Complying with insurance and licensing requirements is crucial to avoid legal issues, financial penalties and potential liabilities in case of accidents or incidents.


Determine your budget and consider the total cost of ownership, including financing, insurance, maintenance and repairs. It is essential to balance your budgetary constraints with the need for a reliable and well-equipped wheelchair lift bus.

Manufacturer Reputation

Choose a reputable manufacturer with a track record of producing quality vehicles. A reputable manufacturer ensures the reliability and durability of the bus, reducing the chances of unexpected issues and maximizing the vehicle’s lifespan.

By carefully considering these factors when buying a wheelchair lift bus, organizations can make informed decisions that result in a seamless and inclusive transportation solution. It not only ensures the comfort and safety of passengers but also aligns with their values and objectives.

wheelchair lift bus - Schetky Bus and Van Sales

What are the types of wheelchair lift buses?

When considering a WLB, it’s essential to understand the two primary types available: standard floor buses with a wheelchair lift and low-floor buses with an entry ramp. Each offers distinct advantages and considerations to keep in mind.

Standard Floor Buses with Wheelchair Lift


  • Seating Capacity: Standard floor buses generally offer a higher seating capacity, making them suitable for applications that require transporting larger groups of passengers.
  • Versatility: These buses can be utilized for various purposes, including shuttle services, school transportation or group outings.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Standard-floor buses with wheelchair lifts tend to be more cost-effective than low-floor buses, which can be advantageous for organizations with budget constraints.


  • Accessibility: Due to their higher floor height, standard floor buses may not provide as much ground-level accessibility as low-floor buses, which can pose challenges for passengers with mobility limitations or wheelchair users when boarding or disembarking the bus.
  • Transition Time: The operation of a wheelchair lift takes time, potentially resulting in longer boarding and disembarking times compared to low-floor buses with entry ramps.

Low-Floor Buses with Entry Ramp:


  • Enhanced Accessibility: Low-floor buses are specifically designed with a lower floor height and integrated entry ramps, offering seamless accessibility for wheelchair users and passengers with mobility challenges, making boarding and disembarking easier and more convenient.
  • Time Efficiency: The absence of a wheelchair lift mechanism allows for quicker boarding and disembarking, reducing transition times and improving overall efficiency.
  • Inclusive Design: Low-floor buses promote a more inclusive and accommodating transportation experience for all passengers, including those with mobility limitations.


  • Seating Capacity: Low-floor buses generally have a slightly reduced seating capacity compared to standard floor buses, which can be limiting for those who require maximum seating availability.

Understanding the advantages and potential limitations of each type will guide organizations and individuals in selecting the ideal WLB that aligns with their specific requirements and enhances the overall transportation experience for all passengers.

Here’s a table of the advantages and disadvantages of each type for a quick reference:

Type of wheelchair lift bus Advantages Disadvantages Best Suited For
Standard floor bus with a wheelchair lift Higher seating capacity
Limited ground-level accessibility
Longer transition time for boarding

Applications requiring larger seating capacity and versatility, as well as budget-conscious organizations
Low-floor bus with entry ramp Enhanced accessibility
Inclusive design
reduced seating capacity
Applications focused on seamless accessibility, inclusive design and efficient boarding

How can Schetky Bus & Van Sales help you?

When it comes to meeting the nine essential factors for buying a wheelchair lift bus, Schetky Bus & Van Sales stands out as a reliable and trusted provider. Known for our industry-leading sales volume and highest safety rankings by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), we offer a comprehensive solution that addresses all the critical considerations.

Schetky’s wheelchair lift buses are designed with accessibility in mind. We provide user-friendly wheelchair lifts that accommodate various wheelchair types, ensuring that passengers with mobility limitations can embark and disembark with ease. The buses also incorporate advanced safety features such as wheelchair tie-downs and securement systems, prioritizing the well-being and security of all passengers.

Maintenance and repairs are made hassle-free with Schetky’s commitment to reliable service. We offer access to replacement parts and have a network of service centers, minimizing downtime and disruptions. Additionally, our buses — WLB’s included — are built with fuel efficiency in mind, reducing operating costs and environmental impact.

By choosing Schetky Bus & Van Sales, you can benefit from our outstanding manufacturer reputation. With a track record of producing quality vehicles, Schetky’s wheelchair lift buses offer reliability and longevity, reducing the risk of unexpected issues and maximizing the lifespan of the bus. Check out our available buses today.

About David Schetky

Schetky offers the most innovative and highly awarded vehicles in the commercial and school bus industries.