The ride hailing startup Uber has been a global force in disrupting transportation. It’s model, which involves amassing a network of independent driver partners who are screened through police checks and user ratings for safety and quality, has made it a verb describing startups that seek to transform industries by connecting users with providers.
Just like other industries, disability supports are not immune to this disruption. As we called out back in August and the Australian Financial Review covered in recent weeks, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has itself seen a growing transformation of support provision with a move to Uber-fication.
Emerging services that provide a support hiring platform to connect NDIS participants with care professionals continue to pop up. Some like Hireup, Better Caring and InLife operate on a commission basis, taking a cut on each hour of care for providing staff booking services. Others like MyCareJobs.com.au provide a completely free and open platform supported by advertising, that is more focused on discovery and connecting people and providers with local professionals.
However not to be left out of the great NDIS disruption is Uber itself. When Uber launches in a new city it gets a lot of attention (unhappy taxi drivers vs excited users makes for good newspaper sales). However while the company continues to reach more people by going live in more cities, it is also working hard to make itself more accessible to people with disability. While Uber has maybe not always been the most accessible of services, it is continuing to improve with the uberASSIST platform.
uberASSIST was designed in consultation with the Australian Network on Disability (A.N.D) and Uber notes “uberASSIST is designed to provide additional assistance for members of the community with different accessibility needs. With uberASSIST, our top driver-partners receive specific training from the Australian Network on Disability, on the necessary knowledge and safety requirements of people with different accessibility needs and can accommodate folding wheelchairs, walkers, and collapsible scooters. Note: uberASSIST vehicles do not have accessible ramps or lifts.“
The uberAssist platform first came to Australia in 2015 and continues to add more locations (Newcastle and the Central Coast were added just last week). While UBER is not itself a registered NDIS provider, it can be used by NDIS participants as part of transport funds. Transport funding is tiered and paid fortnightly into your account without the need to submit claims.
While this doesn’t solve all the transport problems of the NDIS (this document from CDAH tabled in parliament gives some examples of the challenges), it is great to see more innovation and startups embracing inclusion and accessibility.
If you are interested in becoming an Uber driver or an uberASSIST driver sign up here. UberAssist drivers increase transport options for people with disability, giving you the opportunity to drive flexible hours and earn extra income while providing a key service helping people in your community connect to transport and achieve their goals.
If you would like to share your advice with our community about your experience using Uber or uberASSIST you can now find Uber profiled on CareNavigator.com.au. We welcome your advice and reviews – let us know about your Uber experience. Have you tried uberASSIST?