By The Nation
UberASSIST was launched in a partnership with Transportation For All (T4A), an organisation that provides disability equality training for Uber's drivers on how to assist those with different access needs.
Those drivers would be equipped with better skills to assist passengers with physical, hearing and visual impairments as well as those who need assistance during their rides. For riders, uberASSIST would be just a button tap away. The price will be the same as a regular uberX ride, according to a press release from the app-based private hire company and pioneer in the "sharing economy".
Siripa Jungsawat, general manager of Uber Thailand, said that uberASSIST showcases how innovative ideas benefit society and provide passengers with greater choice and control in their day to day activities. With uberASSIST, passengers with access needs would enjoy greater independence and opportunities.
Saowalak Thongkuay, head of Disabled Peoples' International Asia-Pacific Region (DPI-AP) and a member of the Transportation for All (T4A) network, said that Thailand is well equipped to accommodate basic transportation of its citizens. However, there are a number of barriers that limit their travel options.
T4A's mission is to improve public transport for people with disabilities, elderly people and everyone who needs better access in order to enable them to live their lives to the fullest potential as part of society.
Saowalak said that T4A would provide uberASSIST driver partners with training to enhance their awareness and skills for more attentive service. Most importantly, Uber's technology would allow riders to know their driver and vehicle details, estimate their arrival time, view their estimated fares before taking a trip, and allow them stay in contact with their families throughout the ride through the "share my trip" function.
UberASSIST is not an ambulance service but it is a new choice for riders in need of assistance during their daily travels, whether they are have special needs or are elderly passengers, said the company.
In the early stages of the launch, requesting an uberASSIST may take slightly longer than usual as the system searches for the nearest uberASSIST car.
Fares would remain the same as requesting the basic uberX option or uberFLASH.
lAll uberASSIST drivers have a high rating and have completed over 100 trips. Their vehicles are able to accommodate foldable wheelchairs
lAll uberASSIST drivers have an understanding about, and experience in, accommodating riders with special needs and elderly passengers
lUberASSIST drivers receive training from Transportation For All - TFA
lRiders using assistive devices or equipment such as foldable wheelchairs, walkers or riders who are visually impaired can notify their driver before the trip
lDrivers are trained on how to handle assistive devices and equipment such as walkers and foldable wheelchairs and are open to suggestions on how to best accommodate riders
lRiders can request an uberASSIST for friends or family members with access needs such as elderly people and people with disabilities.