Uber, the ride-hailing company, is constantly striving to meet the needs of its users. That’s why the multinational has added a fleet of wheelchair-accessible vehicles to its offering.
These cars can be requested via the app, just like any other ride. Called UberWav, the new feature will be a button away and for the same price as the cheaper UberX fares.
Uber had to apply for a license granted by Brighton councilors; the company had help from accessibility charities in considering various service options for wheelchair users.
Transport for All, Scope, and Whizz-Kidz are all supporting UberWav, and according to Uber, more than £1m will be invested in the product over the first 18 months after the launch.
To make them accessible for wheelchair users, the vehicles will be equipped with a rear-entry ramp, restraints, and winch. One additional passenger will be allowed to travel with wheelchair users.
Initially, an Uber spokesman said the company will provide 55 specially-equipped vehicles, but a later report talks about plans to expand the fleet to more than 100 over the next few months.
In the weeks prior to the complete establishment of the product, Uber announced wait times of “around 25 minutes” in Zones 1-2 and “some 40 minutes” in Zones 3-4.
Tom Elvidge, Uber’s general manager in London, said that this is “one of the biggest ever investments in accessible private hire in London and will be working hard to keep waiting times as low as possible as the service expands.”
Ruth Owen, chief executive of Whizz-Kidz, also called the initiative a step in the right direction. The service will offer a viable alternative for disabled people in London, allowing them to better plan their travel across the capital.
Uber’s new UberWav service also comes in response to past criticism for not offering wheelchair accessible vehicles in more cities where it operates. For now, London remains the only location in which the new option has been made available.
At the same time, Uber felt compelled to make the upgrade due to the increasing pressure from their main competitors. It’s a surprise Transport for London permitted Uber to operate in the capital.
Karhoo is one of the rivals that launched in London this week, and Uber will definitely have to worry about it. With more than 30,000 vehicles made available and no price surging, Karhoo might soon become a people’s favorite.
Image Source: BBC News