More access to suitable transport for people with a disability could be on the horizon thanks to a new platform currently being trialled in South Australia.
Simply known as ‘CARL’, the concept aims to link people and service providers with idle modified vehicles that can be hired for use.
The new platform has been driven by Adelaide-based fleet management company StreetFleet in partnership with the Victorian agency ‘Marching Elephants’ who work to support social change initiatives.
CARL Founder James Ehmann believes this new initiative will help cut down waiting times during busy periods and allow better flexibility.
“We know people with disability can struggle to find transport at times busy times – like Christmas, so we are trying to meet that demand,” he says.
”It will also give people with disability that freedom to come-and-go with flexibility.”
Mr Ehmann says the web-based service has been in development for the past three years and is now in the pilot stage.
“It’s taken some time to get here,” he says.“We have taken some chances and it’s been a learning curve with National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) changes.”
South Australian disability service provider Cara, are one of the organisations trialling the newly developed platform.
Chief Executive Liz Cohen is confident CARL will have a positive impact with the organisation also taking part in the design.
“This platform will be hugely beneficial, not only for Cara, but for any organisation with an accessible fleet,” she says.
Cara are keen to make their fleet – which contains about 80 vehicles – more accessible to provide increased transport options to South Australians with access difficulties.
“At Cara, we are transforming our business, and looking at innovative ways to provide services to improve the lives of people living with a disability,” Mrs Cohen says.
“The introduction of the NDIS has encouraged us to consider the way that we are delivering our services and think differently about what is possible.”
Mr Ehmann says it has been great to receive support from organisations throughout the process.
“It’s amazing to have organisations to have taken the chance,” he says. “We hope they will help grow what we have to what it could be.”
The CARL team are busy collecting data and testing out hiring system throughout SA.
Mr Ehman hopes to continue gaining traction and launch the platform nationally in early 2018.