How a Rear Bench Seat Helps the Disabled Driver

Van seating can be arranged in a number of different fashions.   While removable “captain’s” chairs have become popular for those seated directly behind the driver and front passenger, the bench seat is a still a popular option in the rear of many vans.

While you might think that a rear bench seat would limit options for wheelchair vans, there are good reasons for its use.   Let’s look at how a rear bench seat can improve the wheelchair van experience.

First, we should note that rear bench seats are appropriate for vehicles that will feature side entry for wheelchairs.   Obviously, anyone planning to use the rear for wheelchair entry and exit won’t be able to have a back bench seat in place.   Luckily, there are a number of ramps and lifts that make side entry a solid option.

So, whey would one want a rear bench seat in a wheelchair van instead of single-person seating options?   It’s really a matter of flexibility in terms of one’s passengers.   Setting up a van for wheelchair access necessarily involves removing some seating to provide adequate space for the chair and associated modifications.

That can pose some problems when you’d like to add additional passengers to the mix.   One way to maximize the value of your remaining space is by using a rear bench seat instead of additional single-person units.

A rear bench will safely seat three people across.   That’s one more than a pair of single seat units.   There are some benches capable of comfortably handling four passengers in some wider vans.   You’ll want to check your van’s particular specifications to determine how many people can safely sit in a rear bench seat within your vehicle.

Making a rear bench seat part of your van’s interiors plan provides you with some additional flexibility in terms of passenger needs. You want to have sufficient space to transport those who need wheelchair accessibility, but you don’t want to over limit your vehicle’s capacity.

Look at the way your van is currently set up.   Are you relying on single person seating (some or most of which has been removed to facilitate wheelchair accessibility)?   Would you be better able to meet your family’s needs or your personal preferences by adding more seating to your vehicle?   If so, you may want to consider setting the vehicle up for side entry and maintaining a rear bench seat to maximize passenger occupancy.