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Uber improves its service for disabled passengers in London

Matt Brian, @m4tt
10.20.15
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After recently seeing off a challenge from the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) at London's High Court, Uber is wasting no time in its attempt to broaden its appeal across the capital. The company today announced the launch of uberASSIST, a new service that will offer additional assistance to disabled users. It works like this: when a rider requests a car using the ASSISTUK code, a "top rated" Uber driver, who has passed an equality course developed by Transport for All and Inclusion London, will be told that their passenger may require additional assistance and be invited to contact them ahead of their pick-up.

Vehicles are equipped to store folding wheelchairs, walkers and scooters, but Uber hopes to "add additional fully accessible vehicles to the Uber platform" by early next year. The launch comes as Mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London (TfL) look to impose restrictions on the company's operations in an attempt to level the playing field for traditional taxis and the private hire industry. Uber has been told it should offer more wheelchair accessible vehicles, while other proposals require drivers to complete a Knowledge-like exam and pass an English-language test in order to operate in the capital.

Uber says that the service will be available from 3pm today for no extra cost and more than a hundred drivers are already on board. It's a small footprint when compared to the 21,000+ London black cabs that are wheelchair accessible by design, but Uber's finally doing more to support riders who may need extra assistance when travelling across the city.

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