Uber has garnered huge popularity in the UK over the last few years, and now, the ride-sharing company serves in nearly every big city in the country. In fact, the service is so popular in London that Uber partners exceed the number of regular black ‘hackney’ cab drivers in the city.
On the downside, Uber wasn't quite successful among people looking for an accessible mode of transportation. While the black cab a.k.a. London Taxi had no choice but to be wheelchair-accessible thanks to a legal mandate, Uber drivers did not have such directive. In the bid to address this concern, the company introduced uberACCESS in the city back in 2015.
Not too long ago, Uber decided to expand its service to three new UK markets including Wolverhampton, Birmingham, and Manchester. Further stretching its expansion, the company today added Newcastle, Bradford, Leeds, and Liverpool to the list.
In terms of cost, there's no difference between uberACCESS and regular UberX trips. Although the service can be booked at short notice, it is based on availability. TfA (Transport for All) provides Disability Equality Training to the drivers, who have already gone through a thorough background check, which is identical to the background checks that teachers, care workers, and even black cab drivers need to pass.
While it's good to see uberACCESS expanding to some of UK's biggest markets, there's still room for big improvement.
Earlier this year, Uber was sued by two people who accused the company of violating Title III of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and the California Disabled Persons Act. As if that weren't enough, several people with disabilities have been reporting that they were denied service on the platform.
It can be recalled that in May of this year an Uber driver left a Leeds man in the lurch by the sidewalk saying people with disabilities should use "disabled cars," and just drove off.
Uber General Manager in Liverpool Neil McGonigle noted that several people in the city use their service, and with the advent of uberACCESS the company can now provide the same reliable option for people with a wheelchair, allowing them to make a journey on their terms.
Chief Executive of Whizz-Kidz Ruth Owen recalls when Uber introduced wheelchair accessible vehicles in London, large numbers of youngsters deemed the service useful since it gave them a dependable alternative in terms of traveling across town.
(Image Credit: Uber/YouTube)