Disability Vehicle Sharing Revs Up in South Australia
Friday, 25th August 2017 at 10:55 am
An online platform called CARL that allows disability service providers to share their modified vehicles is operating a pilot program in South Australia and has begun discussions with technology NFP Connecting Up about it’s new ride sharing initiative called Shared Assets.
CARL is 50 per cent owned by Australian leasing company, StreetFleet, and 50 per cent owned by social enterprise incubator Marching Elephants. And the quirky name is a nod to the inventor of the motor car, Karl Benz.
StreetFleet national manager James Ehmann developed the CARL platform that allows disability service providers to share their vehicles when they are not being used. Stage one of the pilot is already underway with a number of not-for-profit disability service providers taking part.
Ehmann told Pro Bono News the next stages would see the system expand to the families and carers of people with disability and eventually into an Uber style partnership with specialist drivers.
“CARL is currently piloting in South Australia with two organisations CARA and SCOSA. We are also currently in discussion with Lighthouse and the South Australian government to include them in a form of pilot as well,” Ehmann said.
“StreetFleet has been specialising in helping the NFP and disability sectors with their vehicles for almost two decades and recognised the need for a sharing platform under the NDIS framework in Australia.”
The CARL platform allows for heavily modified vehicles such as vans, that are sitting idle 40 per cent of the time, to be accessed by different disability providers.
Currently the trial is business to business but Ehmann said the hope was that eventually anybody who owned a vehicle could upload that vehicle onto the platform and lease it out to anybody whot might need it in that area.
He said the trial so far was “moving slowly” with five to eight vehicles taking part.
“With all the changes happening around the NDIS a lot of service providers aren’t sure what their transport needs are likely to be in the immediate future,” he said.
“We have tracking devices on these cars so we are finding that they are being used for about an hour a day. These are highly modified vehicles that are very much underutilised.”
Last week technology NFP Connecting Up announced a new online platform in the same vein; supporting the sharing of specially modified vehicles that would otherwise be lying idle.
However the Connecting Up initiative, which has received funding, is still in its infancy.
“Connecting Up has a grant from the government to set something up and I have reached out to them to see how we can combine our efforts,” Ehmann said.
“We have already built the website which is fully operational. In our preliminary discussions they are more than happy to look at how we might partner.”
At the Shared Assets launch Connecting Up CEO Anne Gawen said the program could provide better quality of life for people living with a disability, and could even provide extra income for individuals with modified vehicles, as well as allowing disability service providers to expand their services.
On Tuesday Gawen told Pro Bono News: “There is certainly the possibility of a collaboration [with CARL] so as not to duplicate the work.”