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Uber enlists outside help to improve wheelchair-accessible rides

It’s aiming to keep wait times down to 15 minutes or less.
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SIPA USA/PA Images

Uber has found itself in hot water multiple times over its lack of wheelchair-accessible vehicles (WAVs), and now it's teaming up with another company in order to better serve passengers with disabilities. It's partnering with MV Transportation, a company that provides paratransit services across the US and Canada, and is bringing MV Transportation's WAV fleet to eight cities.

Uber riders needing a WAV in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Toronto and Washington, DC will be able to book one through Uber in 15 minutes or less on average. And over the next year, Uber aims to provide WAV transportation with similar wait times in San Francisco and Los Angeles as well. The company says that these eight cities account for half of all Uber trips in North America.

Uber has been sued multiple times for failing to accommodate passengers with disabilities. Rival Lyft has faced lawsuits as well.

Uber says that MV's WAVs are operated by drivers who have been trained in safe wheelchair securement and it's working to ensure WAV trips don't cost more than a comparable UberX trip. "We're committed to making accessibility a meaningful part of what we do, and we're proud to be doing our part to enable improved access to transportation for people with disabilities," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said. "We know there is still a long way to go -- and that we're at the beginning, not the end, of this journey."

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