Finding the right wheelchair bus or wheelchair lift van for sale can be completely life-changing. Whether the vehicle is intended for commercial or private use, it’s a vital tool. Safe, comfortable, and convenient transportation allows those who use wheelchairs and other mobility devices to live fuller lives and become more fully integrated into their communities. With these vehicles, quality of life improves. 

Central States Bus is here to ensure that any organization or person looking for a reliable wheelchair bus or wheelchair lift van for sale can find what they need. If you’re ready to survey your options now, you can look through our inventory of accessible vehicles, but if you’d like to learn more about what to look for as well as our dedication to inclusivity in transportation, read on.

Let’s start by gaining a deeper understanding of the necessity of wheelchair buses in today’s society.

The Growing Need for Accessible Transportation

Reports indicate that the number of people using mobility devices has grown over the past decade, and the trend will only continue. The population will continue to age in the coming years, and since older populations use mobility devices at a higher percentage than other age groups, this trend will also have an impact on the need for accessible transportation options. 

A mobility device can make it much easier for some people to move around their homes, but there are still significant challenges when it comes to going out into the world. If you’re unable to drive in America’s car-centric culture, you have a lot fewer opportunities for independence, and you have to rely on public transportation to experience your community.

That’s where accessible transportation options come in. Those who use a wheelchair need a bus or van that can safely get them from point A to point B. Different programs offer those kinds of services, and in order to improve the quality of life of the people they serve, they need reliable, safe, and affordable options when it comes to wheelchair lift vans for sale. 

We’ll discuss the federal regulations regarding accessible transportation in a later section, and we’ll thoroughly cover all the features that a wheelchair bus or van needs to have in order to properly serve the population who relies on it. 

Understanding Wheelchair Buses

Let’s start with a basic definition. When we are discussing wheelchair buses, we’re referring to vehicles that are generally designed to hold up to 5 wheelchairs and 12 to 24 people in total. This is widely true, but there are definitely plenty of exceptions to this rule — the specifics are dependent on the manufacturer. We only offer these numbers as a ballpark figure to give you a better mental picture of the size of wheelchair buses.

 We’ll talk about wheelchair lift vans in a later section, but for now, the most important difference is that wheelchair buses are bigger and are therefore able to serve more people. Because of the size difference, you might need a different license to operate each kind of vehicle. The exact requirements vary by state, so if you’re interested in operating either a wheelchair lift van or an accessible bus, you’ll need to check with the rules in your state. 

Features of a Wheelchair Bus

The first, most obvious feature specific to a wheelchair bus is the ramp or lift allowing someone using a mobility device to easily get on or off of the bus. Federal regulations require wheelchair bus lifts to be able to hold at least 600 pounds. It also needs to be 30 inches by 48 inches at minimum. Lots of wheelchair buses feature lower floors in order to make this process easier for passengers.

The next feature a wheelchair bus must possess is a securement system so that the mobility device and the person using it remain safe until they reach their destination. This is potentially the most important aspect of a wheelchair bus. It means people do not have to transfer from their mobility device to a seat, which can be difficult or impossible to do. Instead, they can stay comfortable and safe without any extra steps. 

Some other requirements of a wheelchair bus include having interior and exterior lights in the lift area, an overhead handrail, and a forward-facing wheelchair securement system.  

Industry Standards and Regulations

Attaining a wheelchair bus for your school district or other organization is not enough. The right tools need to be used properly. One part of that is ensuring that bus drivers and any other staff members that might be on board are trained in how to use the wheelchair lift properly. There are lots of specific requirements that they must follow when someone using a wheelchair is boarding or exiting the bus. Making sure all relevant staff members are following those guidelines is critical to providing the best experience for riders.

Regulations and standards cover more than just the training process for bus drivers, though. We touched on the physical requirements for a wheelchair-accessible bus earlier. Know that when you purchase a bus through a reputable seller and from a well-respected brand, they will have options that abide by all of those rules. You don’t need to worry about scoping out the particulars if you are purchasing from a partner you trust. 

Even still, it’s a good idea to read through ADA guidelines and look into any particular rules in your state or local area. It’s always a good idea to have a decent foundation of knowledge before your school district, business, or other organization makes a large purchase.

Dive into Wheelchair Lift Vans

Although a wheelchair bus and a wheelchair lift van might sound like the same kind of technology, there are important differences to note between these two kinds of mobility vehicles. A van is typically only equipped for one or two people who use a wheelchair, while a bus can usually accommodate more — as we indicated, the number is typically somewhere around five wheelchairs and 12 to 24 total passengers. Wheelchair lift vans are therefore smaller and tend to be better suited to smaller capacities.

This difference in size also makes wheelchair lift vans easier to maneuver, especially in tightly packed city streets. Some drivers might be more comfortable with a van than with a bus for this reason as well. 

Not all lifts on these vehicles are created equally. Some features to look for include weight capacity and whether it’s a side or back entry. Certain wheelchair vans for sale utilize a ramp for boarding instead of a lift — you’ll need to decide which method you prefer before you make a final choice on which model is right for you. Make sure your chosen wheelchair lift van can accommodate your specific needs.

Purchasing a wheelchair lift van for your family or for your organization can be a difficult decision simply because it’s such a valuable tool for improving quality of life. It can feel a bit daunting to select the vehicle that you’ll rely on. Keep the previous qualities we’ve mentioned, like size and lift type, in mind. Also consider your budget. Affording a wheelchair lift van is a big stretch for a lot of folks. There are ways to make it more attainable, and a van is likely more within reach than a bus, but you’ll still need to be thoughtful in your choice of accessible vehicle.

Things to Consider When Buying a Wheelchair Bus or Lift Van

As we just discussed with wheelchair lift vans for sale, buying one of these vehicles is no small task. These are vital tools to making the world more accessible for many people, and making sure your organization has the right fit is critical. So, make sure you’re fully weighing all of these different factors when you’re buying an accessible vehicle.

Your Unique Needs

What will best serve you will depend heavily on whether you’re purchasing a wheelchair-accessible vehicle for individual or institutional use. We’ve attempted to cater to both parties with this post. Make sure to take full stock of what your family or organization needs before you go looking for a wheelchair lift van for sale.


Like we outlined earlier, purchasing an accessible vehicle through a seller and brand that you trust is going to take care of the safety component. Manufacturers with a longstanding reputation for quality are going to put your mind at ease when it comes to any safety concerns with the equipment. New vehicles from these types of sellers are obviously going to be well-rated, but you can also find reliable, safe, used options as well. Trust a partner like Central States to help guide you through the process.

Service and Maintenance

The concerns aren’t over when you find a wheelchair lift van for sale and make your purchase. Your accessible vehicle will need regular maintenance from time to time, just like anything else. A reliable partner like our repair and service center here at Central States Bus will help you keep your bus in good shape. From preventative services to fixing critical issues, we can assist you.


It’s important to account for everything to do with the vehicle itself, but it’s also crucial to take care of the human element of accessible transportation. The people operating and maintaining wheelchair buses or vans need to be properly educated on all the best practices. That way, you’ll get the most out of the lifetime of your accessible vehicle, and riders will have the best experiences possible. Adequate training makes that all possible.

Why Central States Bus Sales Stands Out

After you’ve considered all of the factors we’ve laid out so far, contact our expert team here at Central States Bus to purchase your wheelchair bus or lift van. We have plenty of experience getting the right vehicles to the right organizations and individuals, and our helpful staff would be happy to help you choose from our extensive inventory. 

We’re a well-established player in this complicated industry, and our goal is to help you find the accessible vehicle that’s going to best suit your specific needs. Whether you’re buying for a large organization or a single individual, we have options for you. Central States serves Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and Arkansas. So, if you’re based in one of those states, don’t hesitate to reach out with any inquiries.

And once you’ve purchased your perfect wheelchair bus or van, Central States can help with the long-term maintenance of the vehicle, as we discussed in a previous section. We’re committed to providing excellent service through the entire process.

The Future of Wheelchair Accessible Transportation

If you’re looking for an accessible vehicle for your fleet now, you need a quick solution. But it’s also important to look toward the future of this technology. There are always improvements in the works. Manufacturers will continue to make wheelchair buses easier to use with features like lower floors, more flexible seating arrangements, and increased visibility. These features as well as more technological integrations will make these vehicles even better options for your organization over time. They will continue to provide great service to your community.

Discuss upcoming innovations and technology integrations in wheelchair buses and vans.

The importance of continuously evolving and addressing the needs of this important community.

Find an accessible bus or wheelchair lift fan for sale today!

The next step toward an accessible transportation option for your organization is to look through our inventory or to contact us. The Central States team is passionate about making sure you’re getting exactly what you need through the entire life of your bus.

Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions!