Hello, can I order a taxi please?
Phone Operator: Yes of course love, do you want it now?
Me: Yes please, I’m in a wheelchair so can I have an accessible one..?
“We don’t do those, I’m afraid”
“You’ll have to book at least 24 hrs in advance, and even then you’re pushing it”
“There’s only one accessible car and we save that for hospital jobs”
These replies are what I’ve constantly had since I was a teenager, when trying to book taxis. When you’re a wheelchair user, taxi journeys are treated as a luxury. You’re lucky to be able to actually get one – never mind having a nice and safe journey too. These experiences I had overtime resulted in getting serious anxiety when travelling anywhere. Just making that phone call, still makes my belly flip – expecting rejection straight away.
For anyone that’s read my blogs for a long time – you’ll know I’m very passionate about improving the experience of travelling as a disabled person. I’ve had some really tough journeys from drivers not being disability aware, asking intrusive questions, to being refused taxis and being stranded in the middle of nowhere. Being in tears with dreading an upcoming journey has happened more than once – not knowing how I would be treated or if I would get to my destination safely. That’s why I’m genuinely excited to be working with UberAccess on this post as I believe they understand how a journey should be for wheelchair users.
I know that for wheelchair using friends, trying out new ways of travel is daunting and getting as much information as possible beforehand makes you feel better about trying something for the first time. So in this post I’m going to explain about UberAccess, why it’s changed the way I travel and even provide a code for fellow disabled people and wheelchair users, in Leeds, to save your pennies too! This app honestly opened my eyes to what it should be like ordering rides and travelling. No one should be left behind, feel unsafe or denied basic services around travelling – and I believe UberAccess are on their way to changing how we travel.
How does it work?
As I base my work mostly in Leeds, it’s now really easy for me to get from A to B knowing I don’t have to wait ages for a car, I know the price for my journey before I order it (there’s no added cost – it’s the same as UberX prices) and I don’t have to pay cash but just use my card information installed in the app. The best bit? No more awkward calls! So, to book an UberAccess – download the Uber app and when ordering a ride, make sure you scroll down to “UberAccess” when choosing your car. As my chair is quite a large electric one, for me I’ve never liked the side door opening cars and UberAccess mainly have rear ramped cars but when ordering, you can also see the type of car that is coming before it gets to you.
Safety to me is also really important due to my disability, so the fact that all UberAccess drivers are trained on how to clamp wheelchairs in safely is comforting too. I don’t have to have a 10 minute demonstration telling them what to do each time, I can just roll up and relax. Lovely.
Why is it good, anyway?
I personally really like UberAccess because if I’m honest, I’ve really noticed a difference and can see that their equality training actually works. No one rushes me, I have lovely chats with the drivers, and no one asks “what happened to you?” or “where is your carer?”. I find it weirdly buzzing when a driver just asks how I am and we have a nice quiet drive. I’m not used to that, and I feel just like everyone else. Isn’t it weird that the little things like that make such a big difference?
So instead of the phone call at the beginning it now goes something like this…
Friend: “Shall we book a ride?”
Me: “Yes, hold on” Logs onto Uber
Me: Our driver will arrive in 4 minutes.
If you’re disabled and would like to try UberAccess or Assist*, these are the cities currently available in – and even better if you’re in Leeds like me, use the ACCESSOI1XOZ to get £5 off your first journey… you’re welcome!
*This is available for the first 30 riders. You will have to manually put the code in the promotions tab in your app. Also, just to let you know – the discount will apply after the trip and the discounted price will not be shown before the trip.