Private car booking app Uber yesterday launched UberASSIST in Singapore to help customers, such as the disabled and the elderly, who require additional assistance on their journeys.
The company’s top-rated drivers will be sent on training courses to learn how to offer additional assistance to those passengers who select an UberASSIST ride. So far around 70 drivers have undertaken the training.
However, the company said UberASSIST vehicles would not come with equipment to help disabled customers, such as ramps or lifts.
A company spokesperson told PRWeek Asia Uber plans to introduce fully wheelchair accessible vehicles to its service next year.
Chan Park, Uber’s Southeast Asia general manager, said: "We are excited to have such fantastic partners on board and use our on-demand platform to launch uberASSIST and keep an often forgotten community in Singapore moving."
In creating UberASSIST, Uber said it has been working closely with LevelField, an organisation focused on raising awareness of and improving accessibility for those with disabilities.
The company also highlighted that its new service has the backing of the Disabled People’s Association Singapore and The National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre.
"Better and more varied transport options is an important step towards that inclusive society," said Marissa Lee Medjeral-Mills, DPA executive director.
"DPA supports companies like Uber who are looking to see how their services can cater to a growing number of customers with mobility issues."
Marcus Chee, director of strategic partnership at the NVPC said, "We applaud Uber’s move to train their drivers to provide additional assistance to the mobility challenged.
"Hopefully, this will encourage other companies to follow Uber’s lead and roll out more socially inclusive products in Singapore."
Uber has timed the release of its new service just a few weeks ahead of the 8th ASEAN Para Games, being held in Singapore.
More support came from Singapore national para-athlete Theresa Goh, who said in Uber’s statement: "I'm glad that Uber has come into the mix in providing an affordable and accessible option for people with disabilities."