Uber users in London are now able to book wheelchair-accessible vehicles through the Uber App for the first time.
The new service UberWAV will offer specially adapted cars to wheelchair users, at the same price as normal UberX services. However, to begin with, the wait times will be longer, with the company admitting that for the first few weeks they expect “average wait times of around 25 mins in zones 1-2, and 40 mins in zones 3-4”.
The feature launches today, and is seen by many as a defence to the ongoing criticism of Uber and other on-demand ridesharing services by London Black Cab drivers; who have previously said that their fares were higher as a result of the need for their entire fleet to be wheelchair-accessible.
Indeed, Uber seems to be directly targeting taxi drivers with the new service. They say “UberWAV will give wheelchair users an additional way of getting from A to B with fares on average 30% cheaper than black cabs”, and assure customers that “drivers are licensed for private hire by Transport for London and have passed an enhanced DBS check – the same as black cab drivers, teachers and care workers”.
Disability campaigners welcome the move by the company. Lisa Quinlan-Rahman, director of external affairs at the charity Scope, said “We are pleased that Uber is launching a new service for disabled customers. Disabled people want to have the same choice as all other consumers in London, and have the same options available on method of travel, time and price.”
Are you a wheelchair user, and do you think this is a positive move? Do you check with Liftsharers as to whether their cars are wheelchair-accessible? Let us know in the comments below.
Author Lex Barber