Digital mobility solutions for persons with disabilities

Handistar, the public transport service for persons with disabilities in the metropolis of Rennes, is promoting two innovative startups: Faciligo and Wheeliz. Its director, Anne-Hélène Leroy, tells the team inOut why they are promoting them and explains how digital solutions can improve access to transport for persons with disabilities.

Can you tell us a few words about Handistar?

Handistar is the public transport service for persons with disabilities in Rennes Métropole. It provides door-to-door service by reservation using specially adapted vehicles and professionals trained in assisting persons with disabilities. In 2016, Handistar organised 110,000 trips for the 1,700 persons registered for its service.

Since 2016, you have been promoting Wheeliz and Faciligo. Tell us about these two gems.

Wheeliz, for which Rennes was the first partner city in France, has developed a rental platform for private individuals who own vehicles adapted for persons with disabilities. This means that people with adapted vehicles can hire them out to anyone who needs them, for whichever reason.

Faciligo, which won the Mobility/Solidarity Initiative award from the STAR network in 2016, proposes a “solidarity trip-sharing” platform, which covers all means of transport and addresses the specific needs of persons with disabilities. The idea is that you can sign up as either a traveller or a travelling companion in order to share trips or daily travel, whether you are going to the market, the beach or to visit your grandchildren in Paris, for example. Travelling companions receive a payment, which they can keep or donate to an association.

Why did Wheeliz and Faciligo get Handistar’s attention?

Because they act in complement to Handistar’s service, which addresses a large number of mobility requirements but cannot meet them all. Whether in terms of schedules or in terms of the geographical area covered, Wheeliz and Faciligo extend the transport offer available and improve its flexibility. For example, if you want to go to St. Malo for the day, Wheeliz or Faciligo can make that happen.


In complement to conventional transport services, what can digital tools contribute for persons with disabilities?

Undeniably, greater freedom to travel. Furthermore, solutions such as Wheeliz or Faciligo are relevant because they meet the actual travel needs of persons with disabilities. These digital tools make it easier for civic-minded people to offer their assistance and provide appropriate human support towards overcoming the various obstacles to mobility. This is why Handistar is committed to spreading the word about them as widely as possible*.


*Handistar is promoting Faciligo and Wheeliz in several ways: letters to Handistar users including special offers, posters, advertising messages on dynamic screens on the Rennes underground or via the Handistar Mag.


Anne-Hélène Leroy is the Director of Société Rennaise de Transports et Services (SRTS)-Handistar, and has worked in just about every position available at Handistar: driver, booking agent, coordinator of the service quality campaign (Handistar has been NF Service-certified since 2014), booking service supervisor and operations manager.


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