UberACCESS comes to Birmingham
Uber has revolutionised taxi services for the disabled
As of 4pm today, as residents of the city of Birmingham, we all have access to an incredible new scheme by taxi company Uber.
Uber are adding cars to their fleets in Birmingham and Manchester with new and improved access for wheelchair users. The uberACCESS cars which feature specially designed rear-entry, enable wheelchair bound passengers to travel easily and safely along with one other passenger.
What’s even better is that the company are providing this service for no extra cost. For the same price as uberX cars (the smallest taxi they offer which normally seat up to four passengers), wheelchair users can make use of this service whenever they want, with no advance planning required. With Uber already being well-known for their affordable pricing, which is on average a staggering 25% cheaper than a black cab, this really does revolutionise taxi services for the disabled.
Uber’s general manager Jo Bertram commented on the launch:
“We’re excited to be able to expand uberACCESS to Manchester and Birmingham and look forward to launching in other cities across the UK. With this option, wheelchair users now have a convenient and reliable way to get from A to B – on their terms – at the same affordable price as uberX.”
This launch follows a wave of expansions to the services Uber provide with uberEATS being launched in Birmingham not long ago, and the wheelchair initiative already a successful service in London.
Not only is the service more practical for its customers but it has also had a huge emotional impact, with many users commenting on how it has given them a new lease of life. With an average wait time of just 15 minutes and the lack of necessity for booking, uberACCESS allows wheelchair users to be just as spontaneous and independent as anyone else.
All the vehicles are equipped with a rear-entry ramp and wheel restraints which allow the passenger to travel safely and facing forwards, something which will allow a more natural, enjoyable journey experience. All the drivers will have received Disability Equality Training from Transport for All and Inclusion London, will be fully licensed and will have undergone an enhanced DBS check.
The service has been praised by multiple charities and organisations such as Whizz-kids and Scope. James Taylor, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Scope, said:
“We are pleased to see Uber expanding uberACCESS around the UK. This will help further increase choice in the taxi and private hire vehicle market for disabled people.
“Accessible transport is vital for many disabled people and new options can help drive down the extra costs they face. Disabled people want to have the same choice as other consumers, and have the same options available on method of travel, time and price.”
The service can be found via the ACCESS option on the Uber app, however, the company have warned that despite aims to keep waiting times as low as possible, they may be around 20 minutes in the first few weeks of its launch. However, the promotional code ‘ACCESSUK’ enables wheelchair users to get up to £15 off their first trip which is certainly a sweetener.