First of its kind in Asia

Global ridesharing and private car booking application Uber launched UberASSIST in Singapore yesterday (29 Oct). The new feature caters to the elderly and passengers with disabilities.

Specially trained drivers

Uber’s general manager for Southeast Asia, Chan Park, says Uber looks through their driver lists and picks out their top-rated drivers. These drivers are specially trained by LevelField – a consultancy service that aims to promote awareness for a safe, inclusive and accessible environment for people regardless of age and ability.

The one-day training course enables drivers to understand the needs of the disabled and elderly, and how to assist passengers into the vehicle.

Taxi rides made easier for people with disabilities 

Local paralympic swimmer Theresa Goh recalled that one in 20 taxi drivers would drive off upon seeing her in a wheelchair.

Some taxi drivers stay in their cabs and assume that I can help myself. But with UberASSIST drivers, they’ll be there to help for sure.

She also recounted a time when a taxi driver drove off, as he was reluctant to move closer to the kerb for her to get into the taxi.

He hesitated for a while, and then he waved me off and drove off.

On UberASSIST, Goh said:

I’m glad that Uber has come into the mix in providing an affordable and accessible option for people with disabilities.

Uber is working with the Disabled People’s Association of Singapore (DPA) to better understand the specific needs of passengers with disabilities.

UberASSIST vehicles will be able to accommodate the majority of folding wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters, although they do not have wheelchair ramps.

Cost

The new service will cost the same as UberX, the app’s low-cost option. Base fares start at S$3.50 with a S$0.25/min and S$0.50/km charge.

How to use UberASSIST

Starting from today, passengers can use UberASSIST by entering the code “ASSISTSG” to unlock the option. This feature comes at no additional cost.

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Well done, Uber.

This initiative is definitely a step in the right direction to improve urban accessibility for the elderly and people with disabilities.

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Featured image via Twitter
With reference to Channel NewsAsia, The New Paper