Transportation is always high on the list of “issues” for people with disabilities. Traditional transportation services have not been exactly exemplary in the provision of transporting people with disabilities. The potential for on-demand services (like Lyft or Uber) to improve the transportation of people with disabilities is greater than the wider population because there are less potential options when you are unable to drive yourself. However, these new forms of engaging transportation services need to be held to the same standards as any public service.
Cost is a critical element in any industry. “Disruptive” entities such as Uber cut costs by innovating in many areas as well as avoiding some of the operational or regulatory costs. ADA compliance has a cost. Nevada is taxing ride-hailing services. There needs to be an additional charge on rides and designate the funds for the provision of services to individuals with additional needs. So far in Nevada this need has been ignored.
“It’s just blatant discrimination,” said Marilyn Golden, a senior policy analyst at the Berkeley-based Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund. “They can’t charge people with disabilities more money to take the vehicle that happens to be the one that’s accessible to them.”
When Golden testified before state regulators last year, she urged them to consider a fee that would be tacked on to every Uber trip to subsidize wheelchair-accessible cars.
A ride in an accessible taxi in Los Angeles costs the same as any other cab. About 10 percent of the city’s 2,361 taxis can accommodate electric wheelchairs — an important service for the 1 in 10 Angelenos who identify as having a disability. Many rely on public transportation, cabs and paratransit services to run errands, make social calls and get to doctor appointments. They can sometimes wait hours before a ride arrives.