PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In order to meet an industry-wide accessibility requirement in state legislation legalizing ride-sharing, operators are rolling out wheelchair accessible minivans in the Philadelphia region.
At its Uber support center in Southwest Philadelphia, several drivers did a show and tell with their new Dodge Grand Caravans.
‘To be able to help transport people who don’t have a lot of options is a really wonderful thing,” said Uber driver Scott Goldstein.
Longtime driver Scott Goldstein felt compelled to lease a wheelchair accessible vehicle or uberWAV.
“I’ve done maybe about 20-wheelchair rides so far, and the word ‘freedom’ has come up 10-15 of those times. That’s pretty powerful,” he said.
Brian Hughes, the General Manager of Uber Pennsylvania says they have 70 uberWAVs with rear-entry ramps operating in the Philly region. Its uberWAV drivers took a wheelchair accessible training course.
“Uber offers incentives to those drivers to make it economically appealing,” said Hughes.
Uber says while WAV transportation has historically relied on commercial paratransit fleets, the new uberWAV means that drivers have the option of also providing uberX or uberXL trips, helping them earn more, while also providing the wheelchair accessible ride option.
Hughes points out uberWAV fares are the same as the uberX.:
“A minivan, which can support six passengers, or it can be a wheelchair accessible vehicle, which will then have the same price,” said Hughes.
Lyft, the other dominant ride-sharing app, also met the state directive to have vehicles ready to dispatch that are specially outfitted to accommodate passengers with accessibility needs.
By using the Lyft app, select the “access” link within the services category, to request a ride.