Uber has entered into a contract with MV Transportation, a para-transit firm, to provide service for customers with disabilities. MV will supply drivers and vehicles, while trips will be arranged through the Uber app.
To make public transit work for everyone, today we’re introducing “wheelchair accessible” routes in transit navigation to make getting around easier for those with mobility needs.
The Kenguru is an electric vehicle specifically designed for wheelchair users. The Kenguru is licensed as an urban electric vehicle (UEV), like a motor scooter. While the Kenguru can reach speeds of up to 45 mph, its UEV classification limits its licensed speed to 25 mph. The Kenguru has hand brakes and motorcycle-like handlebars instead of a steering wheel. All other controls are large, accessible buttons that are easy to reach. The vehicle’s hatchback opens to reveal a short ramp. Since the Kenguru is so small, the back of the car can easily pull up to edge of curbs, even in situations which require parallel parking for full-sized vehicles. With a price tag of $25,000, the Kenguru is downright affordable compared to fully modified wheelchair vans.
A few years ago, Stacy Zoern was searching online for an affordable wheelchair accessible vehicle. She came across a Hungarian company that had developed a prototype for the Kenguru, but had lost their funding and were about to go out of business. Impressed with what the Kenguru had to offer, Zoern raised $2.5 million, quit her job as a lawyer, and suddenly found herself the owner of Community Cars. The company is based in Pflugerville, Texas and is working to raise the money necessary to begin producing the Kenguru.
The initial prototype of the Kenguru was designed for manual wheelchair users, but Community Cars is developing a model for electric wheelchair users, which will be steered by means of a joystick and will accommodate the larger size and heavier weight of electric wheelchairs.