For the third article in Helen Dolphin’s four story series about her Motability Scheme journey, Helen tells us about her experience over the past 19 years, and how due to her needs changing, she left the Scheme, before re-joining again.
I first joined the Motability Scheme in 1999, and my first vehicle was a Honda Shuttle, fitted with adaptations so that I was able to drive and transport my large powered wheelchair in the boot. I couldn’t fault my experience on the Scheme but after my first lease expired in 2002, I did consider buying my own car, so I started to weigh up the pros and cons of buying a car versus leasing a car on the Scheme.
The reason I was considering leaving the Motability Scheme was because at the end of my lease, I had gone over the mileage limit quite significantly. Initially, when I had joined the Scheme, I was working for Anglia News as a production journalist, so I was mainly working from the studio in Norwich, however after about a year I started doing a lot more news reporting in the region and this meant driving all over East Anglia on a daily basis. Not being able to drive the company pool cars I was very much reliant on my Motability Scheme vehicle to get me to my assignments. Although the furthest I travelled was Norwich to Northampton, my mileage soon began to tot up. Back in 2002 the limit was 10,000 miles a year and it was 10p for every mile you went over, and so by the time my lease ended, I had to pay quite a lot of excess. I therefore thought I’d see if there was a more cost-effective way for me to drive.
Helen Dolphin: My Motability Scheme journey
Read the first two articles of the series to find out more about Helen Dolphin’s Motability Scheme journey.
As a wheelchair user who needs extensive adaptations I was able to buy my new vehicle VAT free helping to reduce the cost. In the three years since I’d had my first car I’d also found a manual wheelchair so that I could push myself as well as being able to walk a lot better, so I no longer needed to hoist in a powered wheelchair. This meant I had many more options, including driving a smaller vehicle.
With my own vehicle I didn’t have to worry about the mileage limit, but every time something needed doing to the car I had to pay for it, whether it was a service, a new tyre or problems with an adaptation. I also had to source my own breakdown cover and insurance, which was not only difficult but also very expensive. When this car got to about five years old and needed replacing I decided to look at joining the Motability Scheme again. This time I was delighted to see that the annual mileage allowance had gone up to 20,000miles and the excess was only a 5p per mile which meant it was suddenly a much better option for me. In addition, many more adaptations were funded or subsidised making it even more cost effective. It didn’t take me long to make up my mind and in weeks I was back on the Motability Scheme.
It was a relief to be back on the Motability Scheme with the knowledge that all my car problems would be sorted out by somebody else. I was so happy with the car I’d chosen that when my lease was up after three years I decided to extend it by another two. I was able to do this as my adaptations are quite extensive.
I recently renewed my lease again and having tried coming out of the Motability Scheme once before, this wasn’t something I was going to do again!
Want to find out more about the Motability Scheme?
The Motability Scheme offers an all-inclusive package that allows anyone in receipt of higher rate mobility allowances to use their mobility allowance to lease a car, scooter, powered wheelchair or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle. The Scheme provides flexible and hassle-free access to a brand new, reliable vehicle of your choice – giving you greater freedom, everyday.
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