22 November 2017
A new platform is being trialled in South Australia to connect disability service providers and improve accessibility of modified vehicles.
Known as CARL – named after German car engineer Karl Benz – the website allows disability service providers to make available their idle vehicles, which can then be hired by other disability service providers or members of the public.
The platform has been developed through a partnership between Adelaide based fleet management company StreetFleet and Marching Elephants – a Melbourne-based agency that supports social change initiatives.
CARL founder James Ehmann said the platform was currently being trialled by local not-for-profit organisations Cara and Scosa, with future plans to roll it out nationally.
“Unfortunately, transport hire options for people with a disability are extremely limited – be it to access NDIS-approved service providers, to go shopping, or even just a family trip to the beach,” he said.
“The lack of transport services means that such trips invariably require advance planning – sometime months in advance – and there is no flexibility in the arrangement.”
“CARL is essentially a network of organisations and people – a shared economy movement, providing connection, access and a mutually beneficial relationship
for all those within the network.”
Cara chief executive Liz Cohen said her organisation had input into development and design of the platform, which she hoped would utilise otherwise dormant vehicles in its fleet.
“About two years ago I realised we had a huge fleet of suitable vehicles – about 80 –and they weren’t being utilised appropriately,” she said.
“We had a fleet for our customers, mainly connected to group housing, and they could be sitting in the driveway under-utilised.”
“At the same time there was a supply issue for people with a disability or the elderly, so we needed a platform to make these vehicles more accessible – both to our customers and other people as well.”
While CARL is registered as a service-provider under the NDIS, Mr Ehmann is also calling for State Governments to extend taxi subsidies to sharing platforms such as CARL, enabling member organisations to hire out their vehicles for a commercial gain and help address market demand.
Last month, not-for-profit technology provider and CARL developer Connecting Up was awarded $25,000 in funding as part of Open State’s Collaborative Economy Challenge. The funding will go towards further development and
expansion of the CARL platform.
Visit CARL for more information www.carlride.com.au