Travellers with physical handicaps now have a growing number of innovative tools available that have been designed to help them to get around. Finding the most suitable route, hiring a car or renting accommodation that is wheelchair accessible, or having your luggage transferred are just some of the services being offered by specialised new start-ups.
A number of start-ups are now offering innovative technology-based solutions to people with reduced mobility, to help them not only with the basics of travel but also with communications, finding the right route and visiting sites. Here are five of them as chosen by the Voyages d'affaires website.
Eelway: baggage transfer platform
"People who are injured, handicapped or with reduced mobility represent an important part of our activity," says Fabien Cœur-Uni, one of the founders of Eelway, a French platform launched in 2016 and specialising in the transfer, storage and delivery of baggage both in France and around the world.
Eelway enables your baggage to be taken care of until your arrival at the station if you are travelling by train, and also the luggage belt or the exit of the customs area if you are travelling by air (this service is currently available at the airports in Paris, Lyon and Nice). The platform also includes hotels and offices, and is accessible either directly – on Eelway.com – or via partner sites (SNCF, Accor-Hotels, Vinci Airport, Viparis, RATP and around a hundred hotels in the greater Paris area).
Streetco: application for more accessible routes
The Streetco GPS application was also created in 2016 and is similar to Waze, enabling people with reduced mobility to get around streets more easily by providing routes that are selected based on their level of accessibility, avoiding obstacles such as stairways and roadworks.
Streetco is available in French, with English, Spanish and German to follow, and is already being used by 4,000 people. It works in Paris, Bordeaux and Angers, with a partial service in 8,200 other cities around the world.
Handy Box: site for booking adapted leisure activities
Handybox.fr is designed for handicapped business travellers and offers "bleisure" (a portmanteau of business and leisure) activities around France. The site catalogues various adapted leisure activities which can be enjoyed alone or with colleagues, friends and family, and is also equipped to take bookings.
Wilengo: accommodation platform
Launched in 2017, Wilengo is a collaborative platform that works along the same lines as AirBnB, enabling around 30 apartments and houses in France that are all handicapped-adapted to be rented, with insurance courtesy of Axa also included.
Wilengo also allows Internet users to call an assistant or to get in touch with the owners directly, should they have any questions about the facilities.
Wheeliz: rental site for adapted cars
The Wheeliz site specialises in the rental of adapted cars for people in wheelchairs, and has signed an agreement with the French SNCF railway services. Travellers can select vehicles based on their needs and book them for their chosen dates. The vehicle will then be parked for them as close to the station as possible to provide maximum accessibility.
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