For the people in the disabled community that don’t drive, finding transportation can be difficult. Let’s face, it buses and trains only go so many places, and not all are accessible. There are certain times where things would be much easier if there were cars for hire specifically for people with disabilities or even more accessible cabs. Thanks to Uber, people with disabilities have another option.
When I first heard that Uber was going to provide transportation to people with disabilities, I thought it would immediately fill a void. However, I must confess that I have not used their wheelchair accessible vans yet. When asked to write about this particular topic I faced a bit of a problem, how do I write about a service that I have never experienced? The answer: I can’t, so I found one of my friends has used Uber on numerous occasions in both her power and manual chair. Here is what she had to say:
“Uber has a small fleet of wheelchair-accessible vehicles – or WAVs – serving the Philadelphia area. When you open the Uber app, slide the button on the bottom to ‘WAV’. As with Uber’s other vehicle types, the app will show you how many WAVs are on duty (between 1 and 4, I typically find), where they are (when not carrying passengers, they seem to hover in South Jersey or the Northeast), and how long your wait time will be. My usual wait time for a ride in Center City is between 20-30 minutes.
Uber’s WAVs are actually ambulance and other wheelchair transport services that Uber has contracted the work out to. The vehicles are full-sized, pop-top vans with heavy duty lifts suitable for power chairs, so don’t expect a sleek black ride to roll up to your door. The vans will accommodate 1 wheelchair user and up to 3 able-bodies passengers (with room for more, but those are Uber’s stated limits). The drivers I have ridden with have all been well trained and have tied my chair down securely. Currently, drivers are committed to 50 hours per week and can set their own hours, so there are only a small handful of WAVs on the road at any given time and there isn’t guaranteed coverage. With a few exceptions, I have found them generally available most days, including weekends, until about 10pm.
Uber is not cheap (about 30% pricier than a cab), but the transaction is simple. Payment, including tip, is automatically billed to your credit card, which is great for people with limited dexterity for handling money or who otherwise don’t ride around with a lot of cash. If you need door to door service on demand, and can handle the price, check them out.”
Uber is a great car-for-hire option for people with disabilities, and we look forward to how their WAV section will grow.