Are Uber and Lyft Short-Changing People with Disabilities?

September 6, 2018 2:02 am Published by

There’s no denying that Uber and Lyft have changed the way people navigate the United States, particularly in urban areas. Unfortunately, the transportation revolution seems to be at the expense of both drivers and people with disabilities. Even the disability-friendly variants of each app frequently fail to hail rides promptly for people who require special accommodations, like wheelchair access.

This is due in large part to the dearth of drivers who have vehicles equipped with wheelchair ramps, or the space necessary to host an electric scooter. While Uber and Lyft could pay for drivers to have modifications made to their vehicles, neither company has shown the initiative necessary to make this a reality.

While ride-hailing technology has the potential to make cities more easily accessible for people with disabilities, it’s clear that companies like Uber and Lyft still have a long way to go before they’re suitable alternatives to professional handicap transportation in Tacoma, WA.

Technological improvements

While Uber and Lyft aren’t making the investments necessary to make their services accessible for people with disabilities, some companies are actively working to make the world easier to traverse for people who rely on devices like wheelchairs and motorized scooters for their mobility.

Google, for instance, is drawing from its wide datasets to provide information on the accessibility of certain areas of cities for people with disabilities. Using this feature, people who rely on handicap transportation in Tacoma, WA, can arrive at their destination with the information necessary to navigate after they’re dropped off.

Startup company Dot, meanwhile, is now offering a smart watch that synchronizes with a smart phone to translate text messages into Braille. The watch features a complex series of dots that rise when a text message or scheduled alert arrives.

The Sesame Phone is controlled using slight movements of the head, as well as voice commands, making it easier to operate for people who experience limited mobility and use their hands to either push or control their wheelchair.

Perhaps one of the most inventive uses of technology to help disabled people is an app called Be My Eyes, which allows blind individuals to connect to a volunteer through their smartphone. Connecting to a volunteer activates the phone’s camera; once the camera is active, the volunteer can help the user read labels, identify objects and more.

While it’s discouraging to see that some tech companies are leaving disabled customers in the lurch, it’s important to pay attention to positive advances in technology that are making the world slightly more accessible for people with disabilities.

Since 1998, Around the Sound/TransPro has been a premier provider of handicap transportation in Tacoma, WA. We’re proud to provide residents of the South Sound and the greater Seattle area with high-quality transportation opportunities that meet their individual needs. We’re proud to work with our clients to deliver them the dependable transportation they need to attend doctor’s appointments, family gatherings, work, school and more. We’re capable of transporting everyone, whether you rely on a wheelchair, crutches, an electric scooter or a service animal. Contact us today to learn more.

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