For many of us with disability that don’t have our own wheelchair accessible cars, it can be tough to travel with ease and in a way that suits our budget. So much so, that concerns over public transport is one of the main reasons disabled people cite as stopping them getting out and about regularly.
Take the city of London for example: only one in four tube stations are wheelchair accessible, with buses and trains not always being easy to access without help from others. Accessible taxis were also in short supply, and expensive to hire, until now… introducing Uber Wav: Uber’s wheelchair accessible cars.
Uber may have caused a few waves in recent times with its competition with the likes of traditional London Hackney Carriages, but there is much to be said for its dedication to inclusion. Uber themselves stated at the time of the release of their wheelchair accessible cars:
‘At Uber, our goal is for convenient, safe and affordable transport at the push of a button, everywhere, for everyone.
That ‘everyone’ is important to us. So developed with the support of Scope, Whizz-Kidz, Transport for All and a group of London’s top-rated Uber partners, we’re proud to be launching a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) option.’
What is Uber Wav & What does UBERWAV mean?
UBERWAV is an option on the Uber app, which connects wheelchair users with accessible transport. It is intended for people with ‘relevant disabilities’ only. The service provides reliable, on-demand transport for wheelchair users.
The name Uberwav stands for Uber Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle. Uber means ‘above’ or ‘over’ in German.
What is an uber t?
An ‘Uber t’ is transport provided by the Uber service. Yet unlike Uber’s regular provision of transport through a community of drivers, a ‘Uber t’ vehicle is a regular taxi from a taxi company.
How much does Uber cost per mile?
There are several different kinds of Uber services available, which have their own rates. In addition, prices can vary between locations, and congestion will affect the length of time it takes to reach one mile. The Telegraph provided a very useful table of Uber charges in their article here:
In more depth, Uber Estimate also keeps a tally of Uber rates. Here are the the charges for Uber Wav in London:
- Base Fare: £2.50
- Per Minute: £0.15
- Per Mile: £1.25
- Cancellation Fee: £5
- Service Fees: £0
- Minimum Fare: £5
How to request an Uber wheelchair accessible car:
- Download the Uber app and create your account
- Choose the ‘uberWAV’ option on the slider at the bottom of the screen
- Place the pin at your pick up location – make sure it’s somewhere where it will be safe for your driver to stop the car
- Tap the ‘Set pickup location’ bar. You’ll be asked to confirm your want to request a wheelchair accessible car.
- Tap ‘Request uberWAV’
- Once your request is confirmed, your driver is on their way to collect you. You can get in touch at any point by sliding the block with the driver’s details upwards and tapping ‘Contact’
Cities (or regions) where Uber Wav works:
Uber Wav is available in London, Austin, San Francisco, Philly, Texas, Southern California.
Experiences with Uber Wav
Some people have tried Uber wav and posted their review online.
You can check this review by The Bimblers about their travel to London: We Used Uber WAV in London and Saved a Fortune where they stated this:
All told we used 3 Uber’s. If I had used Black Cab’s the cost was an estimated £110. However, using Uber the cost for 3 WAV’s was £42 which included a first-time user discount of £10. As you can see, that is a saving of £68 – need I say more.
And they also give some useful advice about the restrictions of the service:
If you are using a very large wheelchair or electric mobility scooter there are size restrictions so you’d need to check first. I would recommend you visit the Uber FAQ’s page or contact them directly if you have any questions. There is also a helpful video on the Uber website to give you an overview of the service.
Other reviews comment similar points regarding big wheelchairs, such as My first journey using the brand new UberWAV:
The downside is that if you have a big wheelchair like me, you will have a tight squeeze getting in and your Carer has to sit and the front passenger seat as that is the only seat available, so if you need help during the journey, you’re going to have a problem.
If you want to know more about the system from the point of view of a child, check out this great video by Whizz-kids:
So, how does Uber Wav work?
Kelly Perks-Bevington, a savvy business owner, make up lover and wheelchair user, had this to say about Uber’s wheelchair accessible cars:
‘In May this year I was asked to try and test new uber vehicles for the launch of Uber WAV in central London. I was so excited to try out UBER WAV as, with most innovative new travel ideas, companies and apps, the disabled access version tends to come second! All of my friends rave about uber, in terms of cost and convenience so I couldn’t wait to give them a try.
To be honest, on the morning of the launch I didn’t know what to expect from the vehicle due to pick me up, and I did have my reservations about if all my needs would be catered for! I was pleasantly surprised as they sent a fully wheelchair accessible car with rear entry, similar to my own WAV at home. The driver was also fully trained and knew how to strap my chair in safely and securely and knew exactly where to clip the straps on my chair, so there was little to no faffing and we were in and ready to go in minutes. The driver was friendly and got us to our location quickly.
I really like the UBER app and the WAV slide along feature at the bottom is great, it shows you how far away your WAV is and who your driver is from requesting the vehicle, which is great!
Since launch I’ve used UBER WAV again a number of times and I’m still yet to be disappointed. I’m looking forward to them introducing more WAV’s and drivers outside of central London but also throughout the UK.
The bonus with UBER for me is definitely the accessibility factor! With black cabs, I can access them via ramp but 9 times out of 10 I’m not strapped in, and I don’t wear a lap belt on my chair either so at times I don’t feel very secure, especially when going through London traffic at speed! I still use black cabs as well as UBER WAV as when I’m in a rush and there’s a black cab waiting to take me, it’s often more time efficient to grab one rather than to wait 10-15 minutes for an UBER WAV, but hopefully after more people with disabilities try, test and embrace UBER WAV there will be further vehicles available and shorter wait times for us all! If you haven’t already give them a try!’