We believe that ridesharing has the potential to significantly improve mobility for people with disabilities. Over the years, we’ve invested in technologies and features to support more people’s ability to easily move around their communities. And drivers on the Uber platform are already expected to accommodate riders with service animals, as well as riders using folding wheelchairs or other assistive devices. But we know there is more that can be done, and believe that ridesharing can further improve options for riders who use motorized wheelchairs or scooters and want reliable access to wheelchair-accessible vehicles (WAVs).
Today, in most cities, wheelchair-accessible vehicles are unreliable and hard to find through existing transportation options. Paratransit options require booking a ride as much as a day in advance, and often mean riders have to wait until many other passengers are picked up and dropped off before they reach their destination. That’s in part why we joined Boston’s paratransit pilot program to improve convenience and reliability via the Uber app.
Because Uber doesn’t own the cars on our platform, historically we’ve relied on people using their own cars to use WAVs on the Uber app, but there simply aren’t enough people who personally own WAVs who also choose to drive with Uber. That’s why today, we’re happy to announce another step towards expanding access to WAVs on the Uber app: we’ve teamed up with MV Transportation, a national third-party transportation provider, to bring their fleet of drivers and hundreds of WAVs on to our app in several cities.
Thanks to our work with MV Transportation and other providers, Uber riders in wheelchairs can now get picked up by a WAV in 15 minutes or less on average for trips in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Chicago, and Toronto.
We’re aiming to see similar wait times for trips in San Francisco and Los Angeles over the next year, and together those eight cities account for half of Uber trips in North America. We’re also committed to working towards expanding our work with MV Transportation to more of our top cities in 2019 and beyond, and we’ll continue our work with third-party transportation providers to improve accessibility for people with different types of disabilities.
“For more than 40 years, MV Transportation has been focused on providing safe and reliable transportation for people with disabilities or using mobility devices. Today, we’re announcing an important step forward with Uber. Our fleet will support the first truly on-demand wheelchair accessible vehicles in six major markets, with more to come. As the nature of transportation changes, we will work with Uber to ensure people with disabilities aren’t left behind.”
– Kevin Jones, CEO, MV Transportation, Inc.
MV Transportation is a leader in providing specialized on-demand accessible transportation for people with disabilities and seniors, serving over 110 million passengers each year across 30 U.S. states and Canada. All WAVs added to the Uber platform by MV are owned by MV and operated by their drivers, all of whom have been trained in safe wheelchair securement. Uber is investing heavily to keep WAV trips priced the same as a similar uberX trip, and to support this program as it grows and scales.
We’re committed to making accessibility a meaningful part of what we do, and we’re proud to be doing our part to enable improved access to transportation for people with disabilities. We know there is still a long way to go—and that we’re at the beginning, not the end, of this journey.