Uber Launches Wheelchair Friendly Vehicles in London

"black cabs"

In the state our economy has been in over the past decade, it’s been rare for even the best of ideas to take off and actually last enough to go international. Understandably, starting a company that competes directly against a great number of already well-established companies might sound like a suicide move.

But somehow, Uber managed to do it. And after launching in 2009, the company has been providing its car hailing services to people in 400 cities and a huge number of countries. The whole situation wasn’t without its ups and downs, particularly regarding regular taxis, the company drivers, and competing car hailing services, but the business most definitely succeeded.

Attempting to get ahead in the market in modern day UK, Uber launches wheelchair friendly vehicles in London. This move comes at the best possible time, since the company had been facing criticism from different sources, as well as competition from the oldest car hailing service – plain, old, regular, run-of-the-mill taxis.

Called UberWav, the service will initially have in store some 55 vehicles which will be expanded to one hundred in the following months. It will cost as much as UberX fares, and the expected waiting times will be around 25 minutes in Zones 1-2 and around 40 minutes in zones 3-4., at least during the first few weeks.

According to Tom Elvidge, the general manager of Uber in London, the company is really happy about this investment:

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. This new initiative will give disabled people in London a much-needed additional option for planning their travel across the capital.

The move came in direct conflict with the regular London black cabs. Most of these already are wheelchair accessible, having very big doors, being very spacious, and having a few more accommodations. The service has been dealing Uber some pretty serious hits lately.

The main criticism addressed to Uber was about how the car hailing service wasn’t accessible to anyone. Drivers reserve their right to turn away customers, and people in wheelchairs or in need of service dogs were often turned away. But now, with the new cars which feature a rear-entry ramp, a winch and even restraints, as well as room for at least one more passenger, things are looking up.

Image source: Flickr