As a member of the blind community, Paul P. of Arlington, MA has experienced the real, positive impacts technology can have on our lives. Travelling alone often posed a significant—and daily—challenge for Paul but since being introduced to Uber, things have changed for him and the way he gets around.
He has been using Uber since 2014 and credits the app with greatly improving his independence—whether it be in getting to work functions or for personal use. Before Uber, “I was completely unable to be on a street away from a hotel, T stop, or a bus stop and flag down a taxi,” Paul explains. “Not being able to see, I would have to get someone to help me.” Now things are different.
“That level of independence, I really call it liberation. Now I can pull out my iPhone and get a ride completely myself. That is really a change—a huge change.”
While Paul has been a loyal rider for some time and has used Uber in places such as Ann Arbor, Las Vegas, and even Italy, he was thrilled to see new services launch recently to increase his options.
“With uberPOOL and some of the different options you have, it really is so reasonable to be able to do it that it widens the scope of what I can do independently—like going to the cleaners or running errands.” By lowering the cost of door to door transportation, Uber has helped Paul gain independence in even the smallest things—he adds that “if Uber went away and there wasn’t this kind of choice, then I’d be much more limited in what I can do on my own.”
“Now, I’m completely independent. I can stand somewhere in Boston or Washington, D.C. and I can get a ride. And that is transformative. That to me, there are two other experiences in life that have left me feeling similarly, really with a lump in my throat because it has changed how I live my life.”
The other two experiences that were comparably life changing for Paul were using an ATM and voting. ATM technology allowed him to plug in a headset and withdraw money independently rather than having to go into a bank and ask a teller. Similarly, he can now vote as a result of the new polling machines that enable him to use a headset that will read him the ballot so that his vote can now be completely confidential. The technology in all three: Uber, ATMs, and ballot boxes, has elevated Paul’s day to day experience in a profound way.
At Uber, we truly believe in the transformative power of technology. That’s why riders like Paul inspire us. Inspire us to keep pushing and improving, innovating and creating; to continue to improve access to reliable transportation for the cities we love to celebrate and the millions of riders like Paul we love to help keep moving.