One of the major problems for those with disabilities is the inaccessibility of public transport in Lebanon. Often seen as a burden to drivers, especially those that are wheelchair bound, they tend to stay at home rather than lead a more productive life due to the expense (four to five times more than the average person) and hassle that comes along with every ride they have to take.Co-founders Chadi and Fadi, an activist in the Lebanese Physically Handicapped Union, who himself is a wheelchair use,r have taken the lead on the new effort to push for accessible transit.
They were able to take part in the Beirut Mini Maker Faire, a gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters and other “makers” in2019 where they discussed several approaches with a group of engineers and designers. One of the ideas was to develop a pilot project to modify one of the existing vans with the necessary equipment, such as a lift or ramp, and make the interior modifications needed to fit a chair.
With most of the buses owned by individual drivers that act as independent operators rather that the government, as Chadi puts it, “the best way to improve accessibility is to take a grass-root approach and attempt to win over the drivers”. That being said, there are many other approaches and concepts that need to be worked on/ researched and we will continue working on this concept to find the best and most affordable way to make the public system more accessible need of funding.