Wheelchair users generally know how hard it is to take advantage of the services that taxi companies offer. Because of the limited use of handicapped vans in taxi fleets, it is often hard to hail a cab that can hold both the passenger and his or her wheelchair at all, let alone comfortably.
While the ADA has taken great strides to ensure that taxi companies change their operations in order to better serve passengers with disabilities, it has not been able to confront the growing industry of network transportation companies like Uber and Lyft, who are not bound by the same laws as traditional cab companies.
While the companies haven’t taken huge strides to adjust their policies, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t doing anything at all. Now, the wheelchair using community in Portland, Oregon will soon have something to celebrate.
Uber Makes the Next Move
Uber, the rideshare app and taxi service has just announced that they will soon be expanding their WAV (wheelchair accessible vehicle) reliability to the Portland community. The company currently services over 80,000 riders in the area, many of whom who use wheelchairs on a daily basis.
What is Their WAV Reliability?
The company’s accessibility service, known as uberWAV, connects riders who use wheelchairs to licensed paratransit drivers who have vehicles with ramps and lifts. It provides curb-to-curb services for customers who require these particular types of vehicles in the same way that riders hail Uber drivers.
According to Uber, the technology “was developed after working closely with leaders in the accessibility community to improve the Uber app and experience.”
To make the app a success, the company has partnered with Peer-to-Peer WAV drivers who drive their personal WAV vehicles throughout the Portland area.
How the Service Works
The service will be available 24 hours a day through the uberACCESS platform.
In order to hail a wheelchair accessible cab, users can open the Uber app, select “Access” in the slider at the bottom of the app, hit the WAV option and set your location and request. It is an easy way for riders with wheelchairs to get around the Portland area without having to struggle to find a wheelchair accessible cab.
Moving in the Right Direction
Uber’s move to expand its WAV capabilities to the Portland area is a definite step in the right direction for the ridesharing company. We can only hope that they continue to expand these capabilities into all metro areas, and even begin to flush them out into rural communities as well.
No one should ever be left without a ride.
What do you think of Uber’s attempt to reach out to riders with disabilities? Is it enough, or does more need to be done? Let us know in the comments below.