With the continual development in smartphone technology, the past five years have seen a revolution in the transport market with the launch of Uber and Lyft. These are two of the main companies that are taking on the traditional black cabs around London. But, which company has the best access policy?
Uber has a number of options available to those with blind or low vision. The fact that Uber built its company around the smartphone app meant that implementing functions that help accessibility is relatively easy. Uber boasts a voiceover integration with iOS and Android Talkback technology, as well as wireless braille display compatibility. They also launched a podcast which helps those with low vision or blindness.
The smartphone app also adds real time GPS, the ability to share your ETA, cashless payments and location sharing with friends and family. All of these features within the Uber app mean that they’re one of the best for transport within the Capital for those with vision or hearing disabilities.
Uber does however fall down on catering for those with ambulatory disabilities. There isn’t an option on the app to select a disabled vehicle, but the American company are trialling several models in various cities that make wheelchair accessible taxis an option through partnerships with commercial partners. This trial is currently going on in London
LONDON BLACK CABS
The famous London taxis have had lean times of late, as their monopoly has been challenged by Uber and Lyft, the two start-ups have a modern starting point and therefore provide a lot of accessibility options through the smart phone app. However, the Black cab companies are adapting, with cashless payments now accepted and several companies developing their individual apps.
One huge bonus the Black Cabs have on Lyft and Uber is the cabs themselves. Uber and Lyft use zero-hour contract workers who either have their own car or are sold one by the parent company, these do not stand up to the accessibility of the Black cab. Each cab has wheelchair ramps, swivel seat, intermediate step, large colour grab handles and no extra charge for assistant jobs.
Lyft recently launched an Access Mode. This Access mode is found in the settings screen of the app and when activated vehicles that are fitted to accommodate wheelchairs will be dispatched instead of the usual cars. If there are no cars available, Lyft sends a text to the customer telling them of what local services to have the ability to help them.
Overall, if you have a vision or hearing disability, Uber and Lyft seem the best bet, the ability to let your friends or family know your exact ETA as well as integrated voiceover control means the two apps are probably the best to go for. If you have an ambulatory disability however, it is still probably best to go for a London Black Cab, you’ll always be guarenteed disabled access.