Chicago is going the distance to ensure that their citizens enjoy a comfortable existence at all times. Although people with disabilities have always faced challenges moving from place to place, the mayor of Chicago recently made an effort to look for a solution to this dilemma, and indeed, a solution has been found. From Uber services to others, Chicago will now be introducing wheelchair accessible vehicles to tackle mobility issues encountered by people with disabilities.
What lies in store?
Within the next six months, the mayor’s office has ordered 50 new vehicles to hit the streets of Chicago. These vehicles will be meant specifically for people who use wheelchairs and find it hard to use regular transport.
Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, felt that every person in Chicago needed to have safe and reliable transport opportunities to move from one place to another. While this was already prevalent for the remaining population, people in wheelchairs often could not reap these benefits. This is why they decided to increase the number of wheelchair accessible vehicles on the street.
Chicagoans who use wheelchairs will now have the ability to hire wheelchair accessible vehicles to get them around town, thereby tackling their mobility challenges.
Who will be providing these services?
For now, the mayor’s office has sanctioned 50 new vehicles to hit the streets, however, if there is demand, this number could very well go higher. Currently, the contract has been handed over to Uber, VIA and Lyft to provide these services to the citizens.
This order came about after new regulations were issued in the month of June, asking taxi companies to put forth a plan that was aimed at improving customer service to people who have disabilities. This gave birth to the idea of having wheelchair accessible vehicles, which received immediate approval by the City Council.
Molly Spaeth, spokesperson for Uber in San Francisco, said that the company was adding a total of 50 new vehicles that were wheelchair-accessible to their existing fleet. Although Lyft did not offer any comment, the General Manager of Uber Chicago, Marco McCottry, stated that finding solutions to the issue of mobility is of utmost importance and they are hoping that within the first three months itself, the number of wheelchair accessible vehicles on the road will increase by twenty percent.
McCottry claimed that he was in full support of ensuring that everyone should be able to avail a ride, with just the push of a button.
A possible solution for the future?
While many complained about the regulations, they were finally approved by the City Council.
Chicago has already seen an increase in wheelchair accessible taxis and other vehicles since 2011 when the mayor first came to office. Records show that they carried out about 77.5 million trips in 2016, which is more than a 200% increase since 2013. This is why having more wheelchair accessible vehicles will better aid in tackling the mobility challenges faced by people with disabilities.