If anyone likes to travel, and you have to have a wheelchair/mobility scooter with you, it’s well documented that even relatively short journeys have to be planned like military campaigns. So it helps a little when your destination has little extras to level the field and make getting around a lot easier.
For the more adventurous among our readers we’ve looked at wheelchair hiking tips from an expert, and globetrotting digital media guru Martyn Sibley has giving his advice for wheelchair users who want travel further afield. Sound advice is always welcome but sometimes you can use a practical solution too.
Mobilituk is a new design from the streets of Phnom Penh where a UNICEF employee noted the staggering difficulties in getting around this magnificent city if you use a wheelchair. The classic tuk-tuk taxis of Phnom Penh are a good way to underline this problem as there is no easy way for way people to get in and out of them without being physically carried into it by the driver. It’s an invasive and awkward transfer but necessary for many who need to use this mode of transport. You then have to trust the same driver to place your chair in the back without damaging any part of it. Yep that includes the big heavy power chairs. Good luck to the tuk-tuk driver too who had better be a regular at their local gym.
One tuk-tuk has been given a face lift and had a ramp fitted to counter all these difficulties. Megan Smith is a wheelchair user working in Phnom Penh who got in touch with Ian Jones co-owner of an accessible hotel in the Cambodian capital with whom she had a long chat. After bringing in some designers and having a productive workshop by the hotel bar, local tuk-tuk driver Mao Vanny agreed to have his adapted and fitted with the ramp.
Now UNICEF has got in on this and is helping promote the accessible Mobilituk. For her part Megan Smith, speaking to Khmer Times said “It’s brilliant for me as a visitor but I want it to be the most useful for Cambodians. To make Phnom Penh and local society more inclusive transportation is so key. We need a local liaison saying ‘this is a great way to get around.’”
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