Hi everyone, i am from the uk, I’m hoping some of you lovely people could help me. I am a below knee amputee and I’m bringing my four children to Orlando next July. We are staying in a villa and I would like to hire a vehicle for the two weeks. Could anyone advise me of a car rental company that could supply me a car with a left foot accelerator pedal adjustment please. I will also be wanting to hire a motability scooter.
Last Edit: Oct 17, 2019 15:00:14 GMT -7 by kayla15
Hi, Kayla, I have had a fair amount of experience dealing with car rental companies. I don't have time to type about this just now, but will try to write something to night. It is not so easy! I'm not sure if there is already a thread on adaptive car rental on this site. Perhaps one of the moderators would know. Eric
I travel a fair amount for business, and some for fun, too. For a while I used to try to rent cars here in the US. I’ve stopped trying, for the most part, because it’s just too hit-or-miss.
In principle I could probably get by without an adapted car. I have a very high amputation of the left arm. Yes, I can steer with one hand if I have to, but I worry there are times when I really want to crank fast one way, than back the other, quickly, and not just a few degrees one way or the other. Here in Colorado it can happen when your back tires break loose on a patch of ice you didn’t see. You’d really need to steer vigorously into the skid. Less urgent is the situation in parking lots, etc, where you need to crank way one way, then way the other, as you make tight turns around rows of parked cars. So anyway my own car at home has a spinner knob, super useful, and a turn-signal cross-over lever, which brings the turn-signal control available on the righthand side of the steering wheel, a little less critical but still nice.
In terms of renting a car with adaptive equipment, I’ve found that the major car rental companies have a Adaptive Equipment office somewhere off in Telephone Land. I suspect they are required to do so by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) but I don’t actually know that for a fact. It takes a little doing but if you get on the phone with a major car rental company, they eventually get you to the phone operator at the adaptive equipment office. In my experience, the person who works in that office tends to be super nice, very well informed, very eager to help. I have good, detailed conversations with them and they key into my reservations record all the equipment I need. “Should all be in place when you get to airport”, they tell me. But then, when I get to the airport, it’s a totally different story. The agent at the desk says “Adaptive equipment? What? Oh, hey, look what I see on my computer screen, a tiny box on the corner of your reservation record. I’ve never seen anything like it before in my career as a car rental person. I will click on it. Yep, sure enough, it looks like you need something called a spinner knob! There’s a mechanic who knows about those things. He gets on shift in three hours. Make yourself comfortable in the waiting room”.
Often enough, I just bail on the whole process, take a taxi, whatever it takes to have an alternative to get me where I need to go. I’m always traveling for fun or for work, and either way I don’t want to spend the day at the rental car place. The only way I’ve ever really had it work consistently for me is if for some reason I need to return to the same airport again and again, say four or five times over a year. Then the first time I go I make a big fuss, and eventually I get a telephone number or email not for the whole national rental car company but for a particular manager right there at that particular airport. Then the next time I go, I still do the whole process of reserving with the rental companies nationwide adaptive equipment guy, but I also call or email the actual local person on the ground a day in advance, and then again as I get on the airplane. This works! But, car rental companies don’t want to give you a local number or email – they want you to go through their national office. As a way of complying with ADA law, having a national office is great. But as a way of getting an amputee into an adapted car, it’s kind of a joke.
Sorry to be a little discouraging. It helps that Orlando is a relatively high-traffic car rental market. I’d go with a major company, not the discount places. Call to make the reservation and get ourself connected also to the adaptive equipment office. And I’d see if I could force them to give me a number or better an email for someone in the local office. Another thing you could plan to do as a back up is to plan to spend your first night in a hotel right by the airport. Then if you show up and they don’t have a car ready, you can say, “fine, I’m taking a taxi to my hotel now. I’ll be back at 9:00 am tomorrow morning; please have the car ready. I will be spending the evening looking up the telephone numbers for the local district attorney, the local disability rights organization, and the local television news. I hope I don’t need them tomorrow morning!”
Good luck, and if any of the other readers here have other suggestions, please share as I'd like to have a more reliable system myself. Maybe thyere are highly specialized companies, especially for longer-term. two or three week rentals?