Intent on doing more to help disabled riders, Uber has teamed up with MV Transportation to bring additional wheelchair-accessible vehicles (WAVs) to its ridesharing service.
A specialist in transport solutions for those with disabilities, MV Transportation, in partnership with Uber, will aim to get a suitable vehicle to a disabled rider within 15 minutes of receiving a request via the Uber app, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a post announcing the new setup.
The CEO noted how, in many cities, WAVs can still be unreliable and hard to find through existing transportation options, and in many cases need to be booked as much as a day in advance.
The new service launches first in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Toronto, and Washington, D.C., with more cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco coming in the next year. Riders in the listed cities should see the UberWAV option listed in the Uber app when they go to request a ride.
A ride in an MV Transportation vehicle booked through Uber will be charged at a similar rate to an UberX trip.
Uber says that all of the WAVs added to its platform by MV Transportation are owned and operated by MV’s drivers, each of whom has been trained in safe wheelchair securement.
MV Transportation has been in business since 1975 and provides specialized, on-demand accessible transportation for people with disabilities and seniors.
The Dallas, Texas-based company takes care of more than 110 million passengers each year in 30 U.S. states and Canada.
Uber has sometimes found itself on the receiving end of criticism from disability advocates over the years for its apparent failure to provide adequate services for those with disabilities.
The partnership with MV Transportation is the company’s latest effort to improve the situation for disabled riders.
But Khosrowshahi said there is still more to be done in the ridesharing industry to “further improve options for riders who use motorized wheelchairs or scooters and want reliable access to WAVs.”
Kevin Jones, CEO of MV Transportation, said the deal with Uber marked an “important step forward” for its business, adding that his company’s fleet “will support the first truly on-demand WAVs in six major markets, with more to come.”
Jones added, “As the nature of transportation changes, we will work with Uber to ensure people with disabilities aren’t left behind.”