This week marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the National Federation of the Blind. In support of our partnership with the NFB, Uber’s accessibility team is participating in the national conference in Orlando for the second year in a row to provide educational product demonstrations and gather feedback from the blind and low vision community.
“Uber is a perfect example of how an innovative application of technology, that incorporates accessibility for all users, can increase service options for blind people. We applaud Uber’s commitment to continued innovation that increase mobility choices across the world. We are excited to partner with Uber to implement creative solutions and welcome Uber to our annual convention to incorporate feedback from our community.”
Mark A. Riccobono, President, National Federation of the Blind
In honor of their 75th anniversary, we sat down with a group of inspiring riders who are visually impaired to learn about their experiences with the Uber platform.
Meet Uber riders Christy, Emrah, and Tessa
Christy’s five-year-old daughter Emeline lights up her life. The pair are almost always together, traveling around their home state of Michigan, heading to gymnastics classes, and sometimes embarking on long, adventurous walks to the supermarket.
Christy glows when she speaks about her daughter, but motherhood has presented a unique set of challenges for her. Five years ago, Christy became visually impaired. Typical parental duties, like running errands and going to medical appointments, suddenly felt close to impossible. She could no longer drive, and in a neighborhood where cars are a necessity, she felt that the “fierce” independence she once maintained was eluding her.
When Uber arrived in Michigan, Christy and her daughter became some of the very first riders. Uber has allowed her to rely less and less on family members for transportation needs. She feels empowered to travel independently with her daughter.
And there are many more riders like Christy. Tessa, in Tampa Bay, uses Uber every week to run errands with her service dog, and says that the technology has allowed her to be “spontaneous.”
Emrah, who is blind, once requested an Uber at a busy intersection in Chicago. He knew that ridesharing technology offered unique opportunities for riders with disabilities—but he didn’t know it did the same for drivers. When Emrah’s car pulled up, he realized his driver was deaf.
“I feel absolutely amazed and grateful to Uber and to this unique experience,” Emrah said. “What a pair! A blind person and a deaf person doing business.”
Many driver-partners go above and beyond for their passengers—like the time Tessa’s driver helped her carry groceries to her front door, or the time that Christy’s driver mailed her daughter’s lost doll shoe back to their home. For many in the blind and low vision community, trying a new mobility option can be difficult. But Christy encourages people who are reluctant to travel independently to try using Uber. “Take that first step,” she said. “It’s worth it.”
Uber is committed to continuing to build solutions that support everyone’s ability to easily move around their communities. We are constantly innovating our technology to increase mobility choices in all cities where we operate.
Read more about our commitment to innovation for the blind and low vision community here.