Rick Streiff, manager of fleet design and maintenance for Access Services in Los Angeles County, was among the first to buy into the concept, purchasing 28 for use in the Los Angeles area after the MV-1 first came out in 2011.

Many of those have close to 100,000 miles on them already, he said. He plans to add more MV-1s in the future.

“We’ve had excellent compliments from both the drivers and the passengers,” he said. “They say they really like having the extra room that the MV-1 gives them over a standard minivan. And the drivers just like the ability of being up higher in these vehicles and being able to see.”

Compared to the vehicles that are typically handicapped accessible, the MV-1 also saves money in fuel and maintenance, he said.

“It’s something that we’ve needed for a long time,” Streiff said.

It will save money in another way, too, said Jim Weisman, general counsel at the United Spinal Association. Instead of dealing with a $66 charge that goes on the books as a medical expense, people will be able to take the MV-1 in taxi form for $15 or $20. “The responsibility will become a private sector responsibility,” he predicted.

Weisman, who has been working for people with handicaps for nearly four decades, was thrilled to see AM General take over the MV-1 from the Vehicle Production Group.

“I can’t thank these people enough for keeping this going,” he told the assembled crowd at the relaunch. “It’s such a good idea.

“Its time came 10 years ago, and it’s finally going to happen.”

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