Metro rejected bids from ride-hailing companies for a new program to outsource paratransit service for senior citizens and people with disabilities in Maryland, instead choosing a pair of Prince George’s County taxicab fleets equipped with wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
The decision was a win for disability rights activists who pressed WMATA officials to avoid companies such as Uber because they lack vehicles with wheelchair-ramps and have been sued for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In fact, a D.C. civil rights group sued Uber in June.
The ‘Abilities Ride’ program is scheduled to begin on Sept. 18. MetroAccess customers will have the ability to call, book online, or use an app to summon a taxi – on demand and at a discounted rate – as many as four times a day, a dramatic improvement from the current MetroAccess limitation of shared rides and 24-hour notice.