Special services for the disabled

Uber provides modified vehicles that can accommodate wheelchairs, and rides are free on city buses for the fully blind

A specialised cab service to help the disabled get around the city is becoming popular, while BMTC and KSRTC are also doing their bit by providing free passes for the visually impaired.

Uber launched its UberAccess and UberAssist as a pilot in October last year, in collaboration with Mphasis, an IT solutions provider.

It pressed into service vans to help senior citizens and riders with special accessibility needs.

Currently, UberAccess runs 50 wheelchair-accessible vehicles while UberAssist has a fleet of 500 vehicles.

“UberAcess vehicles are retrofitted with a heightened roof and hydraulic wheelchair-lift features. UberAssist is a fleet of vehicles aimed at providing greater mobility independence, and the driver-partners provide door-to-door service and help riders safely board and de-board the vehicle,” an Uber spokesperson says.

Customers are usually senior citizens and people with physical disability. “With about 30 vehicles when UberAccess was launched, the service got close to 200 trips every day. The number of vehicles has increased by 20 and the demand keeps increasing,” says the spokesperson.

UberAccess vehicles are modified Tata Wingers. Disability-friendly vehicles require trained individuals to drive them.

“All UberAccess and UberAssist driver-partners are trained and certified by the Diversity and Equal Opportunity Centre to provide extra care and handle assistive devices and equipment such as walkers or folding wheelchairs,” the spokesperson explains.

The services are available throughout Bengaluru and are used by those going to school and work, and even for shopping.  

For the visually impaired, BMTC and KSRTC offer free rides.

Jaffer Hussain, a retired bank professional who campaigned actively for the cause of the visually impaired, says, “If a visually impaired person provides proper documents and medical certificates and a photograph, they are entitled to a free bus pass for five years from the BMTC and KSRTC.”

The pass can be used both on regular and express buses, he says.

Free rides

KSRTC issues free passes for the ‘fully blind’; the passes are valid on all BMTC buses, including air-conditioned ones, with the exception of Vayu Vajra.
Those with other kinds of disability can get an annual pass for Rs 660, which covers unlimited travel on all non-AC buses.

Hail one?

Rides on modified vehicles can booked from the Uber application by selecting UberAccess or UberAssist.

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