Looks like a good news for people with disabilities in Philadelphia. If you're in a wheelchair, traveling becomes a task you dread. This fear associated with stepping out of your home can be essentially attributed to the dearth of accessible transportation.
Much to the relief of Philadelphia-based individuals with disabilities both Uber and Lyft have complied with the new state requirements that involve ensuring wheelchair-accessible vehicles are available in the city at the drop of a hat.
On Thursday, July 6, Uber reintroduced its uberWAV service in Philadelphia, allowing riders to call for a wheelchair-accessible vehicle using their Uber app. In a statement, California-based transportation network company, Lyft also confirmed it provides vehicles with wheelchair accessibility whenever required.
While acknowledging Uber's hearty efforts in terms of offering accessible transportation choices in Philadelphia, Councilwoman Cindy Bass (D-8th Dist.) pointed out that the company has actually surpassed the sanctioned requirements of the state’s ride-sharing law.
In a statement, she urged other transportation network services to expand the number of accessible vehicles for hire in the area.
While all this looks pretty good, Uber still sees plenty of scope for improvement as far as increasing accessibility is concerned. The company has over 70 driver-partners with WAVs providing rides via the Uber app.
This is how Uber manages to single-handedly fulfill accessibility requirement for the City of Brotherly Love on behalf of the entire ride-sharing industry, according to a statement released Thursday.
Regardless of whether it's heading towards the grocery store or an urgent doctor’s appointment, people should be able to access safe transportation without burning a hole in their pockets. However, dependably getting from A to B on a daily basis can get quite arduous for wheelchair users, Brian Hughes, general manager of Uber Pennsylvania said in a statement.
Bearing that in mind, Uber will continue its work in collaboration with the accessibility community to devise with and implement a new solution to address these challenges, Hughes added. This is how he believes they can make living in Philadelphia a lot easier for everyone, especially for people with disabilities.
The UberWAV service costs as much as its UberX service and the popular ride-sharing service claim its wheelchair-accessible vehicles have enough space to not only accommodate a wheelchair user but also four other passengers.
Charles Horton, executive director of the Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities noted that the Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities and the city, along with a slew of other disabilities advocacy groups urged state legislators to make certain that the WAV requirement was part of the legislation legalizing ride-sharing.
He also expressed satisfaction over Uber providing more WAVs than necessary for the next couple of years. Furthermore, he deemed this as a step in the correct direction towards offering a better quality of transportation options for people in a wheelchair in the state.
Andrew Woolf, general manager of Lyft’s operations in Philadelphia said their ride-sharing service provides wheelchair-accessible vehicles inside its app. In other words, there's no need for a separate service.
It's worth noting that several disabled individuals who were previously biased by current transportation options, now heavily count on Lyft as a trustworthy, safe and inexpensive way to make a journey. (Image Credit: Pexels)