Press Release: Disabled Drivers – A Neglected Community?

11 August 2011

A recent ‘mystery shop’ and email based market research exercise of adapted daily rental services available for disabled people showed, at best, ‘a patchy response’ according to Professor Peter Cooke, head of the Centre for Automotive Management at the University of Buckingham.

‘There is a growing ageing and disabled community who may require adapted personal transport. The two groups have a large and growing purchasing power’ comments Cooke. ‘Additional purchasing power may also come from relatives and friends who may also need advice in arranging and booking daily rental’.

People with disabilities and older people are increasingly demanding to be more included in the wider social community. Mobility can be an important component of being able to achieve that inclusiveness.

‘Disabled people can have very specific mobility requirements or accessibility needs and it is surely best business practice for rental stations, central reservations and client facing staff to know what their companies are able to offer’ notes Cooke.

‘We wanted to find out how easy it would be for a person with particular special needs, or someone enquiring on their behalf to get information on adapted vehicles available for rental. We had a small mystery shop and email research exercise undertaken among the major rental companies to determine availability and awareness’.

Cooke considers the results of the exercise as being ‘a wakeup call to the rental industry – daily rental is a dynamic customer focused industry. If the results of our small mystery shop and the parallel email survey among the major players are a true snapshot of the market, I feel it shows a clear and concerning weakness in awareness among customer facing rental personnel.’

‘We don’t want to allocate blame with this report’ says Cooke, ‘we wanted to find out how easy it is to get information and availability of daily rental services for disabled people’.

Notes to Editors

For further information please contact Professor Peter N C Cooke, KPMG Professor of Automotive Management at the University of Buckingham:
Tel: +44 (0)1235 539115