Kymberly Martin

Uber launches service assistance program

In what is a first for Uber globally, and transport in Australia, the car share operator has launched a program that allows people with a service animal to register for Uber’s Service Assistance Program (SAP).

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Trained staff will recognise that the caller has a service animal and be positioned to ensure any issues or questions are addressed quickly and appropriately.

The program provides specialist phone support and increased driver education for those who are matched with a rider in the program.

Uber head of rider operations, Margarita Peker, said everyone should have access to safe, affordable and reliable transport. “The program aims to deliver an improved experience for Australians with a service animal,” she said.

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“After a driver-partner accepts a trip from a program participant, they receive a notification reminding them of their legal obligations in relation to assistance animals. Once participants have been identified as having an assistance animal, we will be able to review each time their request is cancelled, in order to determine whether there has been a breach of Uber’s Community Guidelines relating to service animal refusal. This will reduce the dependency on riders to report suspected service animal refusal to Uber themselves,” she said. 

Uber is the only rideshare operator to have all driver-partners in Australia undertake education on their legal obligations to transport service animals and on assisting riders with accessibility needs, Peker said, with materials designed in consultation with the Australian Network on Disability. 

“There are also processes in place to look into, and take appropriate action, on reports of unlawful service animal refusal which were also designed in consultation with members of the blind and low vision community,” she said.

The program will be launched on October 25. For more details click here

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