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App-based taxi aggregator Uber launched two new services - UberASSIST and UberACCESS, in Bengaluru on Tuesday, aimed at addressing the transportation needs of the elderly and differently abled users. The two new services were launched in partnership with IT Services firm Mphasis which has a background in working with differently-abled people through its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. The service launched in Bengaluru with 500 cabs and 50 vans retrofitted for easy ingress and egress of riders in wheelchairs. “At Uber, we believe in creating transportation options that fit every rider’s need. The launch of UberASSIST and UberACCESS furthers our efforts in this direction.
We aim to make these services available in more cities across the country,” said Amit Jain, President of Uber India, in a statement.Uber offers similar services in other countries and has now introduced it in India as well. Apart from providing these special cabs on demand, the company has also ensured drivers are specially trained to assist their riders by partnering with Diversity and Equal Opportunity Centre (DEOC). Riders will choose Access or Assist similar to how they pick whether they want a Pool, GO or XL ride for instance. Assist rides will offer passengers accessibility needs any assistance they require and allow them to store their foldable wheelchairs within the boot of the cab. Access on the other hand will offer a retrofitted van with a high roof and hydraulic wheelchair ramp for easy ingress and egress from their ride, without getting out of their wheelchairs. The rear-entry means passengers will face forward during their ride, which is a first for Uber anywhere in Asia, the company said. Jain did not divulge on any details of when the service will be expanded to other cities in the country, but said that it was only a matter of time given the demand and requirement for such a service across the country.