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UberWAV – new wheelchair accessible vehicles hit the road

Uber has launched a fleet of 55 Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV). This means that from now on, wheelchair and small scooter users will be able to request a WAV through their app.

UberWAV drivers received Disability Equality Training (DET) from Transport for All and Inclusion London. We were commissioned by Uber to deliver bespoke face to face DET to partner-drivers who will be operating on the UberWAV platform.

“Transport for All and Inclusion London were delighted to have worked with Uber to develop a disability equality course, designed specifically for Uber partner-drivers and delivered by disabled trainers, and grounded in the social model of disability” said Faryal Velmi, director at Transport for All.

“The training will mean that partner-drivers will have the knowledge and understanding of how disabled people may want to be assisted when travelling. This is vitally important as good assistance can make all the difference to a journey. We are pleased that Uber is investing in disability equality training and working to use its technology to provide another additional transport option for disabled people in London.“

This new service is part of Uber’s larger effort to open their services to disabled and older people. A few months ago, they launched a new service called UberASSIST that offers disabled and older passengers the option of getting a driver trained in providing assistance to disabled passengers.

About the vehicle

With plans to expand the WAV fleet to more than 100 in the months ahead at the moment the average wait times will be around 25 mins in zones 1-2 and 40 mins in zones 3-4, in the first few weeks.

The vehicles are equipped with a rear-entry ramp, winch and restraints, allowing for one other person accompanying the wheelchair user. Uber informed us that all vehicles on the new platform will fit a wheelchair of the standard reference wheelchair size. The dimensions of the smallest vehicles on the platform have a minimum internal space of - height: 1377mm width: 783mm and length: 1320mm.

If you have a much larger wheelchair, Uber advise you to email their support team for further information: supportuk@uber.com.

Increasing the amount of private hire vehicles (PHVs) on London’s streets

The launch of UberWAV is a positive initiative for two important reasons. Firstly it increases the number of wheelchair accessible private hire vehicles or ‘minicabs’ on our streets. The capital has always had a woeful lack of accessible minicabs – with those that do take wheelchair users often charging extra. TfA hopes that more PHV operators increase their fleet of WAVs - so that wheelchair and small scooter users have more affordable options when travelling.

Secondly, TfA has lobbied for many years for Disability Equality Training (DET) for all transport staff including in London’s Taxi and PHV sector. We were therefore pleased when Transport for London (TfL) proposed making DET a condition of licensing for all PHV drivers. We know that it will make a real difference to the customer service given to disabled passengers. Both TfA and our training delivery partner Inclusion London would very much welcome the opportunity to work with the sector to upskill drivers in their knowledge and understanding of how to assist disabled passengers – and we hope all taxi and PHV operators will make similar investments in training.

Let us know how you find Uber WAV!

How to book UberWAV

UberWAV can be booked across Greater London. Fares will be priced similarly to uberX service

To book an UberASSIST trip, riders have to:

  1. Download the Uber app and create your account
  2. Choose the ‘uberWAV’ option on the slider at the bottom of the screen
  3. Place the pin at your pick up location – make sure it’s somewhere where it will be safe for your driver to stop the car
  4. Tap the ‘Set pickup location’ bar. You’ll be asked to confirm your want to request a wheelchair accessible car.
  5. Tap ‘Request uberWAV’
  6. Once your request is confirmed, your driver is on their way to collect you. You can get in touch at any point by sliding the block with the driver’s details upwards and tapping ‘Contact’

Special offers:

To apply them, users just need to follow these steps:

  1. Open the App and click the menu button in the top left corner of the app
  2. Select the ‘PROMOTIONS’ option from the drop down menu
  3. Press the ‘ADD PROMO CODE’ button and enter one of the codes below.
  4. Take a trip as normal – the promotion will be applied automatically.