BraunAbility is scheduled to build its final Paratransit commercial vehicle in October and honor the life of the vehicle line with a celebration on Wednesday. The paratranist line produced mobility-equipped full-size vans for commercial use.
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Over 25,000 paratransit vans were built in Winamac, Ind. over the course of the vehicle's life, with 3,000 being delivered to North Carolina alone. Kim Angel of Macon County, N.C. was present. Her agency represented one of the hundreds of customers that BraunAbility supplied with paratransit vehicles over the past 38 years.
"Ralph Braun began by installing wheelchair lifts on full-size vans like these," said Nick Gutwein, BraunAbility president. "This product is where it all started. This is Braun."
BraunAbility began production on the paratransit vehicles in the late 1970s. The passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 served as a springboard for increased orders of mobility products by state and federal agencies.
BraunAbility's paratransit product was built on the Ford Econoline chassis, but Ford has discontinued its Econoline product. BraunAbility made the decision to end production of its paratransit unit and will focus its efforts on manufacturing wheelchair lifts and wheelchair accessible vehicles for consumer and commercial use.