Contact: Susan McGowan
(973) 496 –3916
Complimentary Services to be Available in 100 Markets by Year End
Orlando, FL, and Parsippany, NJ, October, 2003 — Avis Rent A Car System, Inc. has announced the nation’s first comprehensive accessibility program for travelers with disabilities. Dubbed “AVIS ACCESS,” the initiative was unfurled at the annual World Congress on Disabilities in Orlando, FL. This broad outreach is targeted to the 54 million Americans with mobility, hearing or visual impairments, their families, and the many international travelers with disabilities who visit the United States and Canada.
“One in five Americans is considered to have a disability of one form or another,” says Michael Caron, vice president of product development for Avis Rent A Car. “We’re very proud to take the lead in the car rental industry by addressing the needs of this underserved segment of our population. We want the rental experience for all travelers to be as easy, safe and stress-free as possible.” Caron adds, “With AVIS ACCESS, we are adding a new dimension for travelers with disabilities so that they too can be assured that their special needs will be met even before they take to the road.”
Specifically, AVIS ACCESS is providing a dedicated 24-hour toll-free number, 1-888 TRY-HARDER (879-4273) for customers with special travel needs, along with TTY/TDD access for those with a hearing impairment. Other specific service offerings for drivers and passengers with disabilities include the following complimentary service options:
* Transfer Board: Eases the driver or passenger from their wheelchairs into the car seat.
* Swivel Seat: Allows the driver or passenger to turn their bodies in the car seat with limited effort. The seat can easily be removed from underneath the person.
* Spinner Knob: Enables a full turning radius of the steering wheel while using only one hand.
* Panoramic Mirror: Provides a much larger field of view for any driver.
* Hand Controls: Lets drivers with limited leg function accelerate or brake using a hand controlled device. Controls do not interfere with drivers who are not physically challenged.
* Accessible Bus Service: Offers an electrically operated ramp or lift, two ADA compliant wheelchair positions, special aisles and low luggage racks.
* Additional Driver Fee Waiver: Customers with visual impairment can rent an Avis car without incurring any additional driver fees for their designated driver (All drivers must meet Avis’ standard licensed driver requirements).
“The AVIS ACCESS Program is a beacon in the tourism, hospitality and rental car sectors for all companies to learn from and follow,” comments Eric Lipp, executive director of the Chicago-based non-profit Open Doors Organization. Open Doors was founded in 2000 on the principle that all businesses need to make themselves accessible to people with disabilities.
“When I travel, I have found minimal car rental consistency from airport to airport. Differences abound in counter locations, services, availability of trained personnel and in the products I need for business or personal trips,” says Lipp. “All this uncertainty adds to the stress of a trip long before I even leave home,” he said. “I commend Avis for addressing car rental issues on a company-wide level. It is reassuring to know that my transportation and special equipment needs will be met by one company, with one phone call, in all regions of the country.”
AVIS ACCESS is a component of Avis’ long-standing Avis Cares® program. The new services will be introduced in the top 100 markets, in flights of 20 cities at a time, by year-end. All the products for AVIS ACCESS were developed in conjunction with Diversity Partners, a company that relies on people with disabilities to design and produce goods and services.
To reserve a vehicle equipped with Avis Access optional equipment, customers should call 1-888-TRY-HARDER (879-4273).
Avis Rent A Car System, Inc. and its subsidiaries operate the world’s second largest general-use car rental brand, providing business and leisure customers with a wide range of services at more than 1,700 locations in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Latin American / Caribbean region. Avis is one of the world’s top brands for customer loyalty, ranking as the number one rental car brand in the 2003 Brand Keys® Customer Loyalty Awards and tying for number one in the 2003 J.D. Power & Associates rental car customer satisfaction study. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cendant Corporation (NYSE: CD), a diversified global provider of business and consumer services primarily within the real estate and travel sectors. For more information visit www.avis.com or www.cendant.com/media.
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VAN VECHTEN & COMPANY
Jay Van Vechten
AVIS RENT A CAR SYSTEM, INC