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November 20, 2018

Uber expanding wheelchair access for Philadelphia passengers and five other markets

Uber is introducing more options for wheelchair-accessible rides in six markets, including Philadelphia, through a partnership with a third-party contractor.

Uber's availability of wheelchair-accessible vehicles (WAV), or lack thereof, has been a point of contention for many riders critical of the global ride-share service. Because the majority of Uber drivers don't have wheelchair ramps or other features in their vehicles, Uber is teaming up with MV Transportation to up its wheelchair service through third-party drivers.

Dallas-based MV Transportation is one of the country's largest passenger transportation contracting services. The partnership should help bring hundreds of more WAV rides into Uber markets, promised to be priced the same as regular Uber drivers.

“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 in a statement.

“We know there is still a long way to go — and that we’re at the beginning, not the end, of this journey.”

Uber's lack of WAV options became a focus earlier this year, when a study pointed out that only 55 percent of WAV Uber requests were successful in New York City. Uber also reported that only about 300 Uber-affiliated cars in New York City are wheelchair-accessible. Uber has since tapped third-party company NuRide to get the average wait time for a WAV Uber down to about 13 minutes in New York.

The newly announced partnership with MV Transportation will roll out immediately in Philadelphia, as well as New York, Boston, Chicago, Toronto and Washington, D.C. The goal is to get the average WAV Uber waiting time to be less than 15 minutes across those markets.

Uber reportedly plans to expand the initiative to San Francisco and Los Angeles during the next year.

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