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Uber brings wheelchair-accessible rides to London

Engadget Engadget 10/05/2016 Matt Brian
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When Transport for London suggested it might force Uber to provide additional services for disabled passengers, the company took those warnings seriously. It finally brought UberASSIST to the capital at the end of last year, providing passengers with a "top rated" Uber driver who has passed an equality course. Today, it's expanding the service with the launch of UberWAV (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle), a new option in the Uber app that was developed with help from Scope, Whizz-Kidz and Transport for All that goes live at 4pm today.

UberWAV ensures that passengers are sent vehicles that have a rear-entry ramp, winch and restraints, allowing a wheelchair user and one passenger to travel "safely and comfortably." Prices are comparable with UberX, its low-cost ride-sharing service, and the company says it will invest more than £1 million in the first 18 months to ensure its new e-hailing option is a success.

With a smaller number of UberWAV cars on the road, at least to begin with, Uber is warning customers that the average wait time in zones 1 and 2 will be around 25 minutes and 40 minutes in zones 3 and 4 for the first couple of weeks. In London, all black cabs are wheelchair accessible, giving traditional taxi drivers a window of opportunity while Uber expands its service.

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