So Who Gets A Ride
360Access ·SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2017
The world of Transportation has become technology influenced. Obtaining transportation is no longer the idea of can I get an accessible ride for a taxi, but what app do I use and which companies have wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV).
The ride-sharing business has become the new swift transportation mode for many Americans. So what happened to those with disabilities and their rights to equal access to transportation? Well, some get a ride and some do not. Quite frankly it depends on what type of wheelchair you have.
Ride-sharing companies do not supply their vehicles to their drivers like a regulated taxi company does. So they they have purposely slid through the accessibility requirements due to their business model. Or that is how they like to tell the story.
In the world of a regulated system passengers with disabilities were covered and these companies had accessible service because taxi companies were required to have equal access. Then came ride sharing and those companies started to take most of the paying fares from the existing cab companies. So today those regulated companies can not pay for the most expensive program which is the accessible one.
A modified vehicle or MV1 vehicles are the types that accommodate wheelchair passengers, and those vehicles cost around $55,000.00 or more compared to cost of a sedan is around $20,000.00. So its a matter of economics to who gets a ride or not.
For many years when I worked for VPG Autos an OEM ( original equipment manufacturer) of an accessible vehicle, the MV1. During many years of working with regulatory authorities, mayors and community leaders our advocacy relationship with Taxi Regulators was very successful. Our VPG Mv1 team paired with disability advocates across the USA to push for policy for wheelchair accessible vehicles. Until ride sharing we were winning.
I think most advocates with disabilities thought that those companies would be regulated and must follow the ADA as the taxi companies were required to, but that was not the case.
So where do we go from here? Most travelers with disabilities do not know or have information outside their own community on accessible transportation currently, so we designed the AccessLoops platform. Not only will it list the accessible features of businesses and communities, it will list the features of accessible transportation in cities and communities.
As we speak our information system will change all of that with our “Do You Need A Ride” feature. We are working with a company that is has supporting technology to those providers in each area of the USA. So with the AccessLoops feature Business Groups and Chambers can list these features on their websites and Apps to find a wheelchair accessible vehicle on any platform even Uber or Lyft (if they have one), but you will also know the vehicle type. Now that is exciting to me because I want everyone to have accessible transportation to go wherever want to travel, and obtaining it through accurate information. Madonna Long, Founder