Uber is testing a new ride option that caters to the elderly and the disabled.
It's called UberASSIST, and it's launching in Los Angeles.
"At Uber, we strive to create transportation options that fit everyone’s needs. Today we are announcing a new option that will allow riders needing an extra hand to request safe and reliable rides at the tap of a button — uberASSIST," says the company in a blog post. "uberASSIST is designed to provide additional assistance to members of the senior and disability communities. Driver-partners are specifically trained by Open Doors Organization to assist riders into vehicles and can accommodate folding wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters."
According to Open Doors, it's dedicated to "creating a society in which persons with disabilities have the same consumer opportunities as non-disabled persons. ODO strives to teach businesses how to succeed in the disability market while at the same time empowering people with disabilities."
According to Uber, uberASSIST's cost is the same as uberX, and will appear on your Uber app when you enter the ASSIST code into your promotions section.
This is an interesting move from Uber, which has faced lawsuits in recent months over its treatment of disabled riders.
Uber has said that it "was built to expand access to safe, reliable transportation options for all, including users with visual impairments and other disabilities,” and that it “seeks to make transportation options available to all individuals.” But the cruz of Uber's argument against the aforementioned lawsuits involved the we're just a technology company defense. As Fortune puts it, "Uber argues that as a technology company, it is not subject to laws regulating public transit and other transportation providers, such as the ADA, or required to provide accessible vehicles or accommodations."