Within the last five years ridesharing companies like Lyft, Zipcar and Uber have exploded in popularity in cities across the country. The service is a great way to combat traffic, rising gas prices and navigating a busy city. However, until September 3rd, individuals in wheelchairs were not able to utilize the service.
Unlike a taxi service, Uber users download an app and via GPS on your mobile phone, then they set a pick-up location and desired car type. Uber has launched two new program called UberAssist and UberAccess in Houston to test the ease of the program which accommodates disabled passengers.
Through the new programs, users can request vehicles that are equipped with wheelchair friendly ramps. Through UberAsisst you can request an UberX driver. These drivers are all trained in accessibility and can accommodate folding wheelchairs.With the move to make Uber services more inclusive, individuals with disabilities will now how more than one option for reliable transportation. Often, reliable transportation can be seen as a barrier to employment, participating in extra-curricular activities and getting to appointments.
While the service currently being tested in Houston, TX, hopes for expansion has been greatly voiced. The need for UberX drivers that are trained in accessibility are greatly needed for this to expand across the U.S. Uber has been facing mounting government pressure over ongoing lawsuits siting lack of disability support.