When you’re out and about with your powered wheelchair or scooter, the last thing you need is a breakdown! With the Motability Scheme, breakdown assistance is included in your lease, so in the unlikely event that this does happen, you can be confident that help will be on hand in the form of Motability Assist. Motability Assist is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to take you and your vehicle back home. Motability Assist bases its services on the way the emergency services operate and call controllers are highly trained and specialised.
Here we take a look at how Motability Assist ensures that Motability Scheme customers can have complete confidence using their vehicles, secure in the knowledge that help is just one phone call away in the unfortunate event that anything was to go wrong.
What is Motability Assist?
Motability Assist is a 24/7 emergency rescue service set up to offer breakdown cover to powered wheelchair and scooter users. Kim Robinson, the Project Manager for Motability Assist, says the main purpose for call controllers is to get the customer safely home with their vehicle, sending whatever form of transport is best for each unique situation.
Motability Assist works with a network which offers recovery vehicles and Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles, similar to those used by hospitals and care homes to get customers home. Because the recovery service is provided by a network with a range of different vehicles, it is really important that the controller knows the size of the scooter or powered wheelchair during the breakdown call. This way, the most appropriate solution for the situation can be sent.
Motability Assist is available for customers 24/7
“Once we know the most suitable recovery vehicle, we send a driver to the location right away. They will then transport the customer and their vehicle home. Sometimes we just send a regular taxi and another vehicle will collect the powered wheelchair or scooter. It depends on the customer and whatever their needs are,” says Kim.
“We have a close-knit team that works together and all our controllers are very highly trained. Sometimes a customer will need more than one controller to help them. For example, if they have a carer with them, one controller may talk to them while another reassures the customer and another finds the most suitable way to get them home.
“We always prioritise a customer who has broken down on the road or may urgently need access to medication, as that’s potentially dangerous. It’s our job to get them out of there and back safely home as soon as we can. The only time we’d maybe send a repair team out is if they have a puncture,” says Kim.
How does it work?
Every caller is different and every breakdown scenario different, so controllers have to be prepared for anything.
Motability Assist controllers are trained so that customers receive the best possible service
“Sometimes things go very smoothly. For example, you might get a call from someone who says, ‘I’ve broken down at a cafe. Can you come and get me, but I want to finish my cup of tea first!” Other times if a customer is stuck in a pedestrianized area or a shopping centre that our recovery vehicles can’t access, we need to find a way to get them and their vehicle out. Our controllers have faced every scenario imaginable and are able to deal with them using our network of rescue vehicles and working together as a team,” says Kim.
How can customers assist Motability Assist?
In the unlikely event that you do need to call Motability Assist, there are a few key pieces of information that are vital for the controllers to know so they can help you.
- Your name
- Your location
- The type and size of your scooter or powered wheelchair
- Where you need to get to
- If you urgently need any medication
If you don’t have your phone with you—and it’s easy to forget it at home!—a passerby might be able to call for you. If you’re in a shop or restaurant, a member of staff will be able to call.
All of this information will help controllers figure out which vehicle is best to send to best get you and your scooter or powered wheelchair home as quickly and safely as possible. There is no one size fits all solution and will totally depend on the circumstances!
What’s it like being a controller
Helping people in a direct and practical way is immensely rewarding. And the work is very varied and constantly challenging, says Kim. All controllers know they always have support from their colleagues, a Team Leader and an Operations Manager.
Motability Assist need as much information from you as possible to make sure they can help you, even in tricky situations
“Our control team are reviewed and coached on a monthly basis. Every month each call controller’s calls are sampled, graded and viewed. In addition, regular checks are carried out to ensure everyone works to a very high standard.
Controllers work shifts to ensure cover around the clock every day of the year. During any quiet periods we do scenario training to make sure controllers are always well practised and able to respond to whatever calls we receive,” adds Kim.
Peace of mind
So with Motability Assist, all Motability Scheme customers leasing a powered wheelchair or scooter know they can go out and about safe in the knowledge that they’re never alone in the unfortunate event of a breakdown. If you’re not already a Motability Scheme customer, you can find out more about leasing a vehicle and having access to this fantastic service by ordering a free information pack and using our eligibility checker.