Advocates demand Lyft meet same accessibility standards as rival Uber

December 7, 2017
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Local advocates who pushed Uber to up its game on accessibility are urging Lyft, which enters the Toronto market in December, to do the same.

"Whether it's Uber or a competitor, looking hard at accessibility is a vital component for any business," said Maayan Ziv, founder of accessibility-based tech firm AccessNow. "Regardless of who you are, you should not be restricted from a service."

Lyft announced this week that its first expansion outside the U.S. will be to Toronto and other GTA cities, but its long-term plans on accessibility remain uncertain, particularly for passengers who cannot transfer from their wheelchairs.

Though it has proven far less controversial than Uber, Lyft has also been sued in U.S. courts by claimants who said its efforts to accommodate disabled passengers fell badly short.

In late 2015, Ziv and others urged Uber to better its UberWAV (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle) offering and, in early 2016, a framework was put in place that has led to improvements, advocates say.

Working with OCAD University’s Inclusive Design Research Centre, Uber began offering fully accessible trips for the same cost as Uber X trips, initially after partnering with outside providers. Uber now offers drivers an additional $20 per UberWAV trip provided they do 40 or more per week, according to its website.

"It's been a big value-add to my own experience navigating the city, the level of spontaneity it provides," Ziv said. "The drivers are positive; they have training."

Read more: Advocates demand Lyft meet same accessibility standards as rival Uber