United Spinal continues to be at the front of the battle to ensure Uber, the fast-growing ride share company, provides access for wheelers.
In response to complaints about the company’s lack of wheelchair accessible vehicles in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 11, Uber announced the rollout of UberTaxi. As announced, the program promises Uber will partner with D.C. cab drivers who have wheelchair accessible vehicles. United Spinal’s Carol Tyson told the Washington Business Journal that the new service is “inadequate and unsustainable.”
“What we’d like them to do is find a way to increase the number of accessible vehicles rather than using what we have,” said Tyson, who is also the chair of the D.C. Taxicab Commission’s Accessibility Advisory Committee.
A day earlier, as part of a celebration of Human Rights Day, United Spinal organized a protest at Uber’s Manhattan office to demand the company makes all of its black cars accessible. “We deserve to have the same options as nondisabled people,” wheelchair user Dustin Jones told amNewYork. “It’s insulting almost … Uber is a $60 billion company. They can definitely invest in the disability community.”
United Spinal President James Weisman also lobbied New York legislators to keep wheelchair users in mind as they consider Uber’s proposed expansion to upstate New York. “Before lawmakers give Uber a license to operate in Utica and across the state, they should examine the company’s accessibility record in New York City and ask whether they’d be handing over a license to discriminate,” he said in a statement. “Uber has failed to put even one wheelchair accessible vehicle on the street. Uticans should take this opportunity to demand that the company make its services fully accessible so that everyone has equal-access, not just those who can walk.”