UberASSIST boosts disability confidence

Tue 17 January 2017

Download the video transcript (Accessible Word)

Inclusion is more than just providing accessible options for those who need it. It’s about giving all people the choice, flexibility, and freedom to move through life, barrier free, in a seamless, efficient way.

In 2015, Uber Australia officially launched uberASSIST, a service that provides people with disability and older Australians with a safe, reliable and accessible transportation option. In order to ensure that their new service was rolled out effectively, Uber approached the Australian Network on Disability (AND) to develop their driver-partner training.

The driver training was rolled out in December 2016, and involves a series of online learning modules and educational videos that focus on accommodating mobility aids and service animals, disability etiquette, communicating effectively, and using inclusive language.

Still frame from Uber video showing Nick Gleeson and his Guide Dog, Unity

David Rohrsheim, General Manager of Uber Australia and New Zealand said that the service extends from their mission to provide simple, affordable transport to everyone.

“Uber is working hard to make it easier and more affordable for people to get around their city. With uberASSIST, our driver-partners are helping to extend that convenience to those with different accessibility needs,” said Mr Rohrsheim.

AND’s Chief Executive, Suzanne Colbert shared her enthusiasm for the service, welcoming uberASSIST as a game changer for people with disability.

“The Australian Network on Disability welcomes the uberASSIST service which will expand the transport options for many people with disability. It’s great to see Uber’s focus on drivers knowing how to say and do the right thing to welcome riders with disability.  We are proud that Uber has joined the Australian Network on Disability alongside other great Australian organisations to welcome people with disability as riders and drivers.”

The new service acts as a win-win for both driver-partners and riders. Riders with disability and older Australians benefit from an effective, inclusive service, while drivers who complete the uberASSIST training have access to an increased number of ride opportunities. Only top-rated driver-partners are permitted to become uberASSIST drivers.

Former Australia Day Ambassador and disability advocate Nick Gleeson has emphasised the significance of accessible travel options in a poignant video released as part of International Day of People with Disability. Mr Gleeson explains that aside from it being against the law, being denied access because of his Guide Dog prohibits him from moving through life.

“Accepting assistance animals isn’t just about obeying a law or following a policy, it’s about helping me on my journey.”

Since the training launched in late December 2016, the number of qualified uberASSIST drivers has more than doubled. We look forward to seeing increased opportunity for independence for people with disability as the service continues to grow.

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