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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Uber Ride-Sharing Expanding Access for People with Disabilities - Including Wheelchairs in Chicago

July 20, 2017 - Today in Chicago Uber ride-sharing announced Expanding Access for People with Disabilities in Chicago, including wheelchairs. Uber is facing lawsuits across the country for lack of wheelchair accessibility. Uber is saying that app will have 65 wheelchair-accessible vehicles on the road. The service will be known as UberWAV (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle).

Uber's wheelchair accessible vehicles has been available in Chicago on a limited use only for riders who entered a special code, obtained through 'selected' Chicago Disability organizations. Which also demonstrates still in 2017 the lack of some of Chicago's disability community and organizations actually working for the benefit of all of the disability community.

With no doubt the Chicago UberWAV is in response to a lawsuit filed by Access Living, and a few of their employees in October 2016. As Uber is finally developing and implementing new solutions for service that will serve those with mobility devices. A press release from Uber is also posted below. The UberWAV story is far from over, and as updates and issues develop, more to come.
Jim Watkins, publisher
Ability Chicago Info

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Press Release by Marco McCottry, General Manager of Uber Chicago | July 20, 2017              

Push a button, get a ride. This simple concept has revolutionized how many of us think about mobility in cities around the world. At Uber, we believe that affordable, reliable transportation should be available at the push of a button for everyone, everywhere.

Unfortunately, this is not the reality for many people with disabilities. For those who require wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs), transportation options can be even more difficult. That’s why over the past year we have been working with disability advocates and accessibility organizations across Chicago to put together a new, collaborative blueprint for expanding accessibility options for all Chicagoans.

Beginning today, we are proud to announce the expansion of our UberWAV product in Chicago. UberWAV was previously available in Chicago for riders who entered in a special code. With today’s expansion, riders across Chicago can open their Uber app and tap a button on their smartphone to be connected with a wheelchair accessible vehicle. No code required. These vehicles are driven by drivers who are certified in WAV best practices and vehicle securement through third parties, such as the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA), Transit & Paratransit Company (TAPTCO), or the Open Doors Organization. The WAV’s side-entry ramp enables a wheelchair user to ride safely and comfortably with up to three additional passengers, and fares will be the same as the affordable uberX option.

Although there is certainly more work to be done, we look forward to taking this next step toward improving access to mobility options throughout Chicago. Over the past six years, we have worked hard to enable driver partners to serve residents across every neighborhood, particularly in areas that were previously underserved by transportation.

Whether it’s getting to a doctor’s appointment or a trip to the grocery store, everyone should have access to safe, affordable, and reliable transportation. Developing and implementing new solutions to this ongoing mobility challenge is an issue we take very seriously, and we will be monitoring our progress and constantly refining the product based on feedback from riders and drivers over the next few months. As we head into the rest of 2017, we’re eager to continue working with leaders and advocates across the disability community to support everyone’s ability to push a button and get a ride.
Source: Uber press release

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