For Toronto wheelchair users, “ridesharing” just became a transportation option. Uber has launched their wheelchair accessible option, uberWAV, across the city. With uberWAV, a wheelchair user is able to use the standard Uber app to request a wheelchair accessible van.
To provide reliable, professional ride service to Toronto, Uber has partnered with Dignity Transportation, an accessible transportation company.
UberWAV rides cost the same as Uber’s entry level service despite the fact that it comes at a greater expense for Uber. They’re actually covering the additional costs themselves, passing the savings along to the wheelchair users.
What is Uber?
If you’re over the age of 35 and/or you don’t live in a city, there’s a fair chance you don’t know what Uber is. Uber is a service known as “ridesharing”. Similar to a taxi company, an Uber cab provides a person with transportation from point A to point B in exchange for money.
However, there’s some very key differences.
Uber drivers are typically everyday people using their personal vehicles to provide transportation in exchange for money. Vehicle vehicles are scheduled and paid for exclusively through a smartphone application.
A person creates their account, selects they type of vehicle they need, puts in where they need to go, and the driver is notified from there.
The idea is that it’s connecting someone in need of a ride with someone who is willing to provide a ride.
UberACCESS and UberWAVE
As you might imagine, typical people off the street aren’t going to be driving new or used wheelchair vans, and they don’t necessarily know the best way to provide service to a wheelchair user. While customers with collapsible wheelchairs are often able to have their chairs placed in the trunk with assistance, many need a better solution.
That’s why Uber began their uberACCESS initiative. By partnering with other companies such as Dignity Transportation, they’re able to offer wheelchair accessible options through uberWAV as well as better options for seniors and walker-users with uberASSIST.
Though these aren’t currently available in every city that Uber offers its services, they’re working hard to extend these options to more areas as they’re able to.
Room for Improvement
While this is a great step forward, Uber and other ridesharing companies still have a ways to go in providing wheelchair accessible transportation on a similar level to their other services. Wait times are longer for uberWAV rides, and availability, while good during the workday, becomes much more limited at night.
Still, if Uber continues to expand accessibility options at they rate they have been lately, they might soon find themselves as a go-to over taxis for wheelchair users.
Have you ever tried to schedule a wheelchair accessible Uber? Was it successful?