Uber has launched ‘uberASSIST’ service for elders and disabilities
- Ministry of Tourism and Sports in 2015 stated that the country income from senior tourists were as high as 195,000 Million Baht or 8.66% of income from all tourists. The numbers of senior tourists is 12.1% of all tourists.
- Disconnected Mass Transit service within the city has created difficulty in travelling for all citizens including elders and disabilities.
- uberASSIST is the transportation service which is not ambulance or emergency van, for elders and disabilities. The service fee is the same to Uber. Generally, the cars in service are medium size or larger so, the foldable wheelchair can fit in. Moreover, the drivers need to attend the training for proper knowledge and ability test to provide facility for elders and disabilities.
Once Thai Mass Transit lines are disconnected as a concrete system, travelling by each Public Transportation doesn’t seem smooth especially for elders and disabilities. Therefore, Thai Uber has started ‘uberASSIST’ on Thursday 5th October, 2017 hoping to improve this system as the service to provide facility for elders and disabilities under the coordination with Disabled Peoples’ International Asia-Pacific (DPI-AP) and Transportation For All.
The director of Disabled Peoples’ International Asia-Pacific Region, Bangkok points out that there should be various and suitable travelling options for elders and disabilities.
Saowalak Tongue, the director of Disabled Peoples’ International Asia-Pacific Region and Transportation For All mentions about the reasons why Bangkok need to have the service for elders and disabilities that Bangkok as a well-known tourist has been considered to be the one of the worthwhile tourist attractions. Plus, the tourists to Thailand include elders and disabilities. Bangkok is also the location for Economic And Social Commission For Asia And The Pacific and Asean Economics Community.
“In March 2016, the Bangkok Health Office revealed that there are about 800,000 senior citizens (60 years and above) in Bangkok. 92% of them (which is considered the big numbers) is capable of walking on their own. In addition to that numbers, there are about 840,000 different types of other disable people which come to the conclusion of 1.6 Million people or more.
“The information from Ministry of Tourism and Sports in 2015 stated that senior tourists have spent as much as 195,000 Million Baht in Thailand or about 8.66% of all income from tourism. Plus, the numbers of senior tourists are at 12.1% of all general tourists”.
Saowalak said that the current challenge for Bangkok is to increase the various forms of transportation services to respond to the needs of Bangkok people and tourist each day. Even though the BTS exits, travelling by one system is not possible to cross to another town as the connection between each transportation system is still needed. So, comfortable travelling services for elders and disabilities should be arranged to improve life quality of this group of people.
Siripa Juing-Sawad, the manager of Uber Thailand stated that “We came up with uberASSIST because we have realized the different needs of facility for each elder or disable, the enquiry if they need additional assistance and lastly, the providence of the assistance to make their journeys more comfortable and smoother”.
Let’s get to know the uberASSIST, Ridesharing service for elders and disabilities.
uberASSIST has debuted in Thailand as the first country in ASEAN and the 4th country in Asia after Taiwan, Hong Kong nd South Korean. It’s very first service was in Texas, United States in 2014. Now, the service has been in 10 countries around the world.
Ridesharing service for elders and disabilities is different from general ridesharing in term of the drivers’ understanding and training to have knowledge and ability to provide assistance to elders and disabilities. Moreover, all service fee is the same to general travelling fee.
However, in the part of service detail, Uber has repeated that their services are not either ambulances or emergency cars. They are also different from general Uber in term of the cars’ sizes which are medium or larger. The cars have the capability to carry foldable wheelchairs. The customers can notice the detail and their limitation in advance, for example, a visually impaired or hearing impaired customer.
For safety, Uber said all drivers has been through the proper training program. Besides, the customers can choose the feature to share their travels with their families or care takers in order to be able to check each travelling information whether the customer has reached the destination or deviate from the chosen route.
uberASSIST has just been launched recently. So, there have been only 39 customers. All drivers will be selected using these 3 categories as follows; 1. Having at least 100 times of driving experiences 2. Having a high scores from customers and 3. Having attended the provided training from the program. Uber has set the goal of at least 3 months ahead that it will increase the numbers of uberASSIST drivers to 200 which is the sufficient numbers to the needs of senior and disable customers.
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