On the move with our accessibility partner WHILL

February 21, 2024

Categories: At YWG

As part of our commitment to removing barriers at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport to create a more accessible, inclusive, and welcoming environment for all, we’ve expanded our partnership with WHILL Inc. and Scootaround Personal Transportation Solutions’ self-driving wheelchair service to allow users to travel freely to more areas of the terminal. 

The autonomous mobility devices have now been programmed with additional stops, allowing for more independence by providing easier access to restrooms near the boarding gates or Starbucks. The move comes a little more than a year after YWG became the first location in North America to implement the innovative technology as a full-time service. Since December 2022, more than 2,100 passengers have used the self-driving wheelchairs at the airport. 

“Feedback in the last year has been overwhelmingly positive, which has inspired us to work closely with WHILL to grow the program with its advancing technology,” says Julie Chapko, Accessibility and Operations Support Specialist at YWG. “Our goal is to be able to transport passengers from curb to gate and everywhere in between. We’re always looking for ways to enhance accessibility to better serve our community.” 

By 2038, an estimated one in three travellers will need some form of assistance. WHILL’s autonomous wheelchairs help to improve service for passengers, allowing those who require them to easily move from the check-in counter, through security, and to their departure gate. Travellers can request a self-driving wheelchair when checking in at their airline’s counter or by visiting the WHILL station on the Departures Level, near the domestic and international oversized baggage drop.  

To learn about other initiatives to support travellers and visitors at YWG, check out the Accessibility section of WAA.ca. Feedback and requests can be submitted to our Accessibility and Operations Support Specialist by using the feedback form

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