Yesterday, I experienced something that has occurred way too many times with the E-hail Curb pilot program. It seems to be a continuing issue when a driver hasn’t been notified that they are picking up a passenger with in a wheelchair. The real issue is that I do make sure to request need an accessible vehicle but it shouldn’t feel as if it’s my fault because of miscommunication through the phone application.
In the past few weeks, many drivers have told me that they weren’t advised a wheelchair was being picked up. I’ve heard stories that range from that they’re not being paid enough to not enough room in the back because of their belongings. It can be very to overwhelming to be on my way to work and be delayed by a driver who doesn’t feel obligated to accept his passenger’s accommodations. I shouldn’t feel like a burden. The program has helped people with disabilities tremendously because it has helped disabled passengers get around New York City without relying on Access A Ride, a subway system that doesn’t offer complete access, and few wheelchair accessible Ubers available. E Hail Curb has given me the option to travel with short notice unlike Access A Ride whereas a trip needs to reserved the day before.
It puzzles me on how a driver isn’t aware a wheelchair passenger is being picked. On the Curb app, it gives the vehicle option of taxi, accessible, and share. When traveling I always select the accessible option (which has a wheelchair logo of course). If there is a wheelchair logo, it should be assumed that when a driver accepts it would show on screen. My belief is that the driver assumes that because an accessible vehicle is requested due to someone with a lot of groceries or luggage for room to fit. There was a time a driver even told that if he knew I was in a wheelchair he would’ve rejected ride. It’s already hard enough finding an accessible van in certain areas, which can be time consuming. When using the service, the yellow/green taxi tend to run up the meter by taking the long route or turning off the meter when the passenger has already exited long after ride ends. A driver feels that they’re entitled to more money because someone in a wheelchair is being picked up. I don’t feel that because we are all human with different abilities . Yes, it’s factual that a ramp must be taken out for a wheelchair to board. It’s the same common courtesy when opening a door or helping a passenger with groceries or luggage.
All I ask is for drivers to consideration when picking up a passenger in a wheelchair because they’re not aware of how much fight to took to receive a reliable source of transportation around New York City. Not every has the luxury of taking public transportation.