Ross Smith getting into his new WAV

How the Motability Scheme Empowers Independence: A Conversation with Ross Smith

Meet Ross Smith, Scheme Stakeholder Executive at Motability Operations. Ross has been in his role for under a year and his job is to spread the word about the Motability Scheme to healthcare and disability organisations across the UK, to make sure eligible patients and disabled people are not missing out.  

Not only does Ross help spread the word about the life-changing Motability Scheme to others, he has also been a customer for over 20 years. We recently caught up with Ross, who just received his new Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) through the Scheme, to hear about how having a Scheme vehicle impacts his life. 

What initially drew you to the Motability Scheme? How has it transformed your life? 

"The Motability Scheme became a lifeline for me when I moved out at 20 years old. I was obviously still a young man, but wanted to prove I could be responsible for myself. Joining the Scheme gave me the independence to work, visit friends and family, and just live my life on my terms. The Scheme's flexibility is key. My support workers can all drive my WAV without a hitch, thanks to the comprehensive insurance coverage which allows up to three drivers to be covered at once. I know I couldn't get this level of convenience and support anywhere else." 

In what ways does your WAV specifically open up opportunities for you? 

“Living in a rural area means public transport isn't reliable or practical for me. I travel about 50-100 miles a week in my WAV, to see friends and family, go to the theatre, and commute to the station for work, and it all wouldn’t be possible without my Scheme vehicle.  

“My WAV is essential for my job too. I travel around the country 2 or 3 times a month, visiting healthcare professionals and I often need to stay overnight too. My condition requires a lot of equipment like a shower chair, hoist, and my power wheelchair which I use daily to move around. My new WAV has even more storage space, which is an absolute game-changer for my work trips. 

“This is also why I’m so passionate about my job. There are millions of people around the UK who are eligible to join the Scheme but just don’t know about it. Many of them might have become disabled recently and could be struggling with losing their independence. Not only that, many of their healthcare staff or the carers they rely on don’t even know the Scheme exists. This is why I travel around the country to engage with these professionals; to educate them on the Motability Scheme, the incredible benefits which come with the leases but also the real-world impact they can have both physically and mentally. I am a living breathing example of a typical WAV customer, and I’m so happy I get to show other people what is possible because of the Scheme.” 

The Motability Scheme is known for its all-inclusive package. Does this peace of mind matter to you? 

"Absolutely. My life is hectic, both professionally and socially. The Motability Scheme takes the worry out of transportation. When using public transport, I have been in some truly horrendous situations. Unfortunately, accessibility was not at the forefront when our current systems were being designed. The country is now working to retrofit a lot of things and sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn’t.  

“However, if my vehicle breaks down, I know I'll have a fully serviced replacement in no time. That level of reliability is priceless." 

The automotive industry is rapidly evolving towards electric vehicles (EVs). As someone considering an electric WAV in the future, what are your thoughts? 

"I'm definitely open to an eWAV! This time around, it wasn't feasible due to a lack of home charging options and my concerns about the public charging network. But I see the technology improving every day, and Motability Operations is proactive in helping customers find solutions, like the new Motability Go Charge app for simplified public EV charging and even more excitingly, eVITA, the next gen eWAV concept designed in conjunction with renowned car designers, CALLUM. For my next lease, I'm confident I'll be making the switch to electric." 

Ross's story highlights how the Motability Scheme empowers independence and enables full participation in work, education, and community life. As the automotive landscape shifts towards electric, Motability Operations is committed to ensuring that its customers can continue to access the freedom and flexibility that the Scheme provides.