Uber launches fleet of wheelchair-accessible cars in London

The company is also working with charities to train partner-drivers on disability equality courses

Uber is launching a new Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) option in London, working with accessibility charities to bring its services to more people in the city.

Charities Scope, Whizz-Kidz and Transport for All are supporting the launch of uberWAV, with the company set to invest more than 1 million over the first 18 months. The vehicles themselves will be kitted out with a rear-entry ramp, winch and restraints, allowing for one other person accompanying the wheelchair user.

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Tom Elvidge, general manager of Uber in London, said: "The launch of uberWAV is an important step forward in making convenient, safe and affordable transport available to everyone at the push of a button. This new option will give wheelchair users an additional way of getting from A to B with fares on average 30 per cent cheaper than black cabs.

"We're proud to be making one of the biggest ever investments in accessible private hire in London and will be working hard to keep waiting times as low as possible as the service expands."

UberWAV fares will be priced similarly to the low-cost uberX service, which Uber says is 30 per cent cheaper than a London black cab.

There will initially be 55 accessible vehicles added to Uber's fleet in London, with plans to expand this to more than 100 in the months ahead. Wait times for one of the vehicles in Zone 1-2 is expected to be about 25 minutes.

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"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," 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."

Image courtesy of Uber.

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