Europe 2007: Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Rental
By Howard L. Chabner and Michele E. DeSha
The following companies rent wheelchair accessible vehicles without a driver. They may also rent vehicles with drivers, but we’ve compiled this list primarily for people who wish to drive themselves. An “accessible” vehicle is a minivan, van or minibus that can accommodate people who remain in their wheelchair as passengers. We didn’t inquire about vehicles that can be driven from a wheelchair, nor about vehicles with hand controls.
It’s imperative to find out particulars such as the dimensions of the vehicle, especially the headroom; whether it has manual or automatic transmission; whether it has a ramp or a lift; whether the wheelchair access is in the rear or the side; and whether the vehicle can be driven outside the country where the rental company is located. Vehicles with wheelchair access from the rear are more common in Europe than those with side access. Vehicles with automatic transmission are becoming more common in Europe, but it is still easier to find accessible vehicles with manual transmission.
It’s a good idea to bring a copy of your disabled parking permit. In some places, as in many U.S. states, a permit is only issued to an individual and not for a vehicle, so the rental company won't be able to supply a disabled parking permit.
Wheelchair Travel Ltd.
1 Johnston Green
Guildford, Surrey, GU2 9XS
Phone: (011-44) 1483-237-668
Fax: (011-44) 1483-237-772
Trevor Pollitt is the owner.
Rents Mercedes Sprinter and Ford vans with automatic transmission, and large Renault vans with manual transmission. All vehicles are right hand drive. Mercedes rear entry head clearance is 56 inches (142 cm) and interior headroom is 60 inches (152.4 cm). Primarily rents vehicles without driver, but can supply driver. Also provides airport and local transportation in London. This is a very experienced, detail-oriented and well-organized company.
In 2007, to tour Burgundy and the Dordogne we rented an accessible Peugeot Boxer from LVEA (Location de Vehicules Equipes et Automatiques). LVEA delivered it to our hotel in Paris. The vehicle was in immaculate condition. The employees were punctual, responsive and professional. They don’t speak much English, but the LVEA website has an English section. LVEA also rents other types of accessible vehicles. We highly recommend LVEA.
Michele drove. The Boxer is not designed to be driven from a wheelchair. The Boxer is quite large, and much larger than a lowered floor, side ramp Dodge Caravan minivan. It was the only accessible vehicle we could find to rent with an automatic transmission and sufficient interior height. (Howard is 57 inches (1.45 meters) high when seated.) It is very high, and Howard fit with lots of headroom to spare. It handles well and is well made and well designed, with useful features such as a video camera that displays images of the area behind the vehicle whenever the transmission is in reverse. It can accommodate three wheelchair passengers and five or six able-bodied passengers. There is a manually operated ramp at the rear that retracts under the floor. Although it drives very well, driving a vehicle this large is tiring because it requires more concentration than driving a minivan. Also, one sits high above the ground compared to a car or minivan.
LVEA main office, in Provence: LVEA PACA; 51, rue Celony; 13100 Aix-en-Provence. Phone: 4-42-93-54-59. Fax: 4-42-26-60-96.
LVEA Paris region office: 90, mail de la Fontaîne ronde; 77176 Savigny-le-Temple. Phone/Fax: 1-60-63-53-59. www.lvea.fr. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
DLM (Donne la Mobilite)
Contact for accessible vehicles is Mr. Thierry Chabou
Phone: (011-33) (0)3-20-99-98-93
Fax: (011-33) (0)3-20-99-97-04
The company’s main office is in Lille, in northeast France
Phone: (011-33) (0)3-20-06-18-80
Fax: (011-33) (0)3-20-12-06-48
DLM, with several locations in northern and central France, rents a wide variety of regular and accessible vehicles. It has an extensive website with detailed vehicle specifications. The accessible vehicles are in the “Handy System.”
27/29 rue Raffet
Phone: (011-33) (0)1-42-24-70-73
Fax: (011-33) (0) 825-18-77-56
Christophe Molitor is the owner.
Ptitcar rents accessible vehicles with and without driver and provides tours of Paris. It has an English website.
PARAVAN-Straße 5 - 10
Phone: (011-49) (0) 7388-9995-66
Fax: (011-49) (0) 7388-9995-79
Paravan manufactures lowered floor Chrysler and KIA minivan conversions. The Chryslers are very similar to the lowered floor Chrysler conversion common in the United States, including a side entry ramp, except that the ramp retracts under the floor, which reduces the headroom by a couple of inches. Paravan will rent these vehicles without a driver and will deliver outside Germany. Paravan has an English website.
BAUMANN Technische Reha-Hilfen
Alter Ziegeleiweg 4-6
Baumann manufactures or supplies various types of rehabilitation products and medical equipment, including accessible vehicles.
72654 Neckartenzlingen (near Stuttgart)
Phone: (011-49) (0) 7127-23-79-67 or -68
Fax: (011-49) (0) 7127-23-97-93
Edgar Datene is the owner.
As of March 2007 Rolli-Mobil sells, but no longer rents, accessible vehicles. However, this company seems to change its focus over time, so it may be worthwhile to inquire with them.
Buitengewoon Reizen Landstede
8021 CW Zwolle
Phone: (011-31) 038-45-57-030
Fax: (011-31) 038-45-57-035
Gerda van 't Land is the contact.
Phone: (011-31) 06-24-42-22-45
Name: Accessible Portugal
address: Rua João Freitas Branco Nº21 D 1500 - Lisboa
Phone: +351 21 720 31 30
agency rents accessible vehicles, including lowered floor renault kangoo,
medical equipment, operates accessible tours and provides personal care
assistants and related services. It has an English website, and operates in the
International Marketing Director
Edf. Mar y Sol
Avenida Amsterdam 8
E-38650 Los Cristianos
Phone: (011-34) 922-750-289
Fax: (011-34) 922-750-283
Located on the island of Tenerife, Spain, LeRo rents accessible vehicles and medical equipment, operates accessible tours and provides personal care assistants and related services. It has an English website.
Phone: (011-41) (0)52-202-33-33
Fax: (011-41) (0)52-203-12-21
Mietauto rents vehicles with and without driver. As of March 2007, accessible vehicles are available only with manual transmission. It has an English website.
Pro Infirmis Switzerland
Post Box 8032 Zurich
Phone: (011-41) (0)44-388-26-26
Fax: (011-41) (0)44-388-26-00
Pro Infirmis is a nationwide disability organization providing a variety of services for people with many types of disabilities. It does not rent vehicles, but can provide good information about vehicle rental and accessible transportation in Switzerland.
Inaccessible Vehicle Rental Option
For those who are able to transfer to and from a regular vehicle and wish to rent for at least 17 days and up to six months, a good option is the Open Europe program from Peugeot. Open to non-EU residents, this program includes almost the entire line of Peugeot vehicles. Delivery is available throughout France and at major Western European airports. The vehicles are brand new and the price is less than renting from a third party. Technically, you “buy” a new vehicle and “sell” it back to Peugeot at the end of the period. There is an English website.
Metric Conversion Guide
One inch = 2.54 centimeters
One centimeter = 0.3937 inches
One meter = 39.4 inches
One square meter = 10.76 square feet
One kilometer = 0.62 miles
One mile = 1.61 kilometers
One liter = 0.264 gallons = 1.056 quarts
One gallon = 3.785 liters
Editor's note: Don't miss the following access reports by Howard &
Paris Passerelles - Wheelchair Accessible Travel In Paris at
Paris Appendices: Hotel Wheelchair Access Questionnaire, Metric Conversion & Hotel Wheelchair Access Survey Results)
2005 Paris Passerelles
2003 Rome, Italy at
2005 Vicenza, Florence and Rome at
Navigating Naples at
2004 visit to these cities in Spain:
Cordoba & Seville
Toledo, Madrid, Segovia
Additional Information & Appendices A, B & C
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