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UberASSIST pilots in CT for those with special access needs

11 May 2017

Accessibility should be available for all; everyone should have ways and means to navigate around their own city, but when one has special needs, getting from A to B can be far more challenging. That’s why Uber has launched a new pilot in Cape Town called uberASSIST.

uberASSIST is a new option that caters for senior riders and riders with access needs. uberASSIST aims to step up and offer assistance to those that require it when travelling from one point to the next, offering a safe and reliable option for these underserved riders that are not as mobile and able to move around their city as others. “At Uber, we strive to provide convenient options that fit everyone’s needs. uberASSIST is currently piloting in Cape Town for us to gather necessary data, understand how best it can work and understand who uberASSIST is adequately able to cater for,” says Alon Lits, General Manager for Uber Sub-Saharan Africa.

Transport for someone with access needs can be expensive, often requiring paid-for help such as caregivers to assist. Uber hopes uberASSIST will be an affordable alternative for those with access challenges. Uber partnered with DGMT, a private foundation which supports initiatives that aim to bring about dynamic and fundamental impact to the lives of people in South Africa. In order to provide the best service to riders with special needs, Uber invited only the top rated driver-partners to be part of the uberASSIST pilot – drivers interested then opted-in to the pilot. All drivers on the uberASSIST view completed a disability equality course reviewed and supported by DGMT’s Inclusive and Innovative Society portfolio. This course provided the necessary knowledge and safety requirements driver-partners need when assisting people with different accessibility needs.

Renisha Patel, Innovation Manager at DGMT, adds, “Our hope is that this partnership with Uber, will expand options for riders with special access needs, facilitating greater social inclusion for South Africans.” Lits explains, ”Thanks to our partnership with DGMT driver-partners now know how to best provide an efficient and seamless service to senior riders and riders with access needs.” When requesting a ride, special needs riders can contact the uberASSIST driver-partner ahead of time to inform them of any unique requirements. Like all ride options Uber offers, UberASSIST riders will also be asked to rate every trip, this is an important tool to ensure drivers receive valuable feedback about their involvement in the uberASSIST programme to better their business offering.

uberASSIST riders will need to be able to navigate a smartphone in order to request a vehicle, or have someone close by to help. uberASSIST vehicles do not have wheelchair accessible ramps, therefore unfortunately cannot accommodate motorised wheelchairs at this stage, but uberASSIST can cater for fold up wheelchairs. uberASSIST riders are welcome to bring along service animals; Uber recognises the need for service animals and driver-partners know that these animals serve a very important role.

How to access uberASSIST in Cape Town?

1. Riders will need to open the Uber app
2. Enter in the destination required
3. Swipe left on the app and select uberASSIST
4. Confirm pick-up location and request a ride

As this service is specifically aimed at riders access needs, Uber urges all Uber riders to respect others in the rider community by only using uberASSIST if applicable to them. Uber would like to ensure those who need to get an uberASSIST ride can do so.

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