Shared mobility made wheelchair-friendly
In August 2016, the car-sharing provider and Taxistop spin-off organisation, “cambio”, launched its first wheelchair-friendly car in Belgium. They had received the request from ‘Onafhankelijk Leven’, a non-profit platform for people with a disability. By specially developing the wheelchair ramp, the new car is also usable for other users.
Cambio is active in 34 cities in Belgium and in 19 cities in Germany. With 800 cars and more than 25.000 users in Belgium, it is the biggest player on the Belgian market. With the introduction of this wheelchair-friendly car, it has added a brand new segment to its offer.
At first sight, this car looks like any other Citroen Berlingo. But when one opens the trunk, there are some noticeable differences. The lowered suspension and a foldable ramp allow wheelchair users to easily take place in the back of the car. The high windows make sure they can enjoy the view. With a wheelchair in the back, there is still room left for one other passenger next to the driver.
When the ramp is folded in, you notice no difference to the standard version of the Berlingo. There is no loss of space in the trunk or in the backseat. That way, the car still can be used by other cambio members, and be utilised at its maximum potential.
‘Onafhankelijk Leven’, a non-profit platform for people with a disability, is very happy with this test project. Now, wheelchair users can easily make use of a car and participate to the fullest in day to day life. ‘My car, my freedom’, as the saying goes, is most true for this audience. Because of their lack of transport and the deficit of adapted public transport facilities, people with a disability sometimes feel left out. With this car, a new step has been made by the car-sharing provider in the direction of a more inclusive society.
Currently, this pilot project is set-up with one car in one city. Cambio is currently testing if there is enough potential for this project to be scaled up and spread across the rest of Belgium.