A task force in New York has released a report recommending ways ride-hailing services could improve access for people with wheelchairs or other mobility devices.
When legislation was authorized allowing Uber and Lyft to operate statewide, it included the Transportation Network Company (TNC) Accessibility Task Force to improve the services for people with disabilities.
In their latest report, they cite incentives to include more accessible vehicles and driver education as ways to improve how the apps can serve these customers.
Meghan Parker, Director of Advocacy with the New York Association on Independent Living, says a lot of their recommendations come from feedback they heard about during listening sessions late last year.
"We heard from people of pretty much every kind of disability, from those who have been using the services, that they’ve just been having a lot of issues with drivers not really knowing how to handle people with various types of disabilities,” Parker said.
Currently, she says ride-hailing apps are supposed to provide service to people who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices that can fit in a trunk. But often, people can’t transfer their own equipment.
She says they would also like to see the state provide some incentives to buy accessible vehicles, whether it be low interest loans or tax breaks.
They also recommend the app services reach out more to people in the community who already have these vehicles, and help them become drivers.
This story was produced by WXXI’s Inclusion Desk, focusing on disabilities and inclusion.