Paris woman creates Uber-like service for people with disabilities

Paris woman creates Uber-like service for people with disabilities
Paris woman creates Uber-like service for people with disabilities

Car services like Uber and Lyft may have opened doors for those urbanites needing a ride, but for those living with limited mobility, the so-called convenience of these services fails miserably.

Charlotte de Vilmorin of Paris, France found this out first-hand, when she travelled to Florida and was unable to find a wheelchair-accessible ride around town.

When de Vilmorin finally found a suitable car, she discovered it would cost $1,000 to rent for 10 days. According to the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association, there are 18 million people in the U.S. and Canada living with mobility issues, but despite this statistic, finding an affordable ride is still a struggle.

“It’s very difficult to get around when you are in a wheelchair, because public transportation is not accessible,” de Vilmorin told Mashable. “You can’t just grab a cab or rent a regular car.”

Upon returning to France, de Vilmorin took matters into her own hands, co-founding Wheeliz, a French car-sharing service that connects those living with a disability with owners of wheelchair-accessible cars.

De Vilmorin told Mashable there are around 100,000 adapted cars in France, but not all are in use every day. With this in mind, Wheeliz allows the owners of these cars to rent out their vehicles for €50 and €60 a day, taking 30 per cent commission, but providing insurance in turn.

Currently, there are 900 registered Wheeliz users, reports Good News Network and 120 available cars. The startup has expanded into Bordeaux and Nantes, and de Vilmorin says she hopes to go global soon.