First Car Rental upgrades UFS disability minibus
Minibus used to transport students with disabilities at the University of the Free State.
August 2015 - The University of the Free State (UFS), with its Main Campus in Bloemfontein, is one of the oldest South African institutions of higher learning. The Centre for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) at the University was established in 2001 to help students with disabilities and has grown from supporting 12 students back then, to more than 150 students today.
In 2008, providing transport for the students with disabilities was identified as a high priority by CUADS as many students faced great challenges such as wheelchair-using students being forced to pay extra fees for public transport because their wheelchairs take up more space in a taxi.
In 2012, First Car Rental responded to this heartfelt issue by donating two brand-new vehicles to CUADS. The two vehicles consisted of a passenger car and a specially-adapted branded Quantum minibus.
Since 2012, the Quantum has been used daily by CUADS to transport students to and from the campus.
In July 2015, First Car Rental decided to upgrade the Quantum and replace it with a brand new branded Quantum, which has also been adapted for wheelchair access and transportation.
(L - R): Janette Greeff (First Car Rental Area Sales Manager, Free State and Northern Cape), Hetsie Veitch (Assistant Director - Student Affairs: Center for Universal Access and Disability Support) and Landi Kuhn (Branch Manager, First Car Rental Bloemfontein) with the new sponsored minibus.
Hetsie Veitch, Assistant Director of Student Affairs at CUADS, says, "Receiving the sponsored vehicles from First Car Rental is a dream come true for me and for the students. The use of these vehicles has allowed us to establish a proper transport system for the students and it has changed the lives of many of them, affording them the time to focus on their studies and not worrying about getting around. The CUAD is extremely grateful for this initiative and partnership with First Car Rental."
Bruce Barritt, Managing Director at First Car Rental, comments, "First Car Rental has enormous respect for people who achieve against all odds. The UFS is a beacon of further education and it is an honour to be able to serve them."
Launched in 2001, CUADS aims to make the University of the Free State accessible to students with disabilities, including all disability designations such as visual impairment, hearing impairment, mobility impairment and specific learning impairments.
The support offered by the centre is individualised for each student according to his/her specific needs to ensure student success and a complete student life experience at the UFS, striving towards creating an environment in which students can function independently.
To find out more about First Car Rental's Corporate Social Responsibility projects, click here.