Booking rides on Uber to become easier for people who need assistance getting around

National para-swimmer Theresa Goh trying out the uberAssist option when it was launched in October 2015.
National para-swimmer Theresa Goh trying out the uberAssist option when it was launched in October 2015.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - From Tuesday (Nov 21), vehicle passengers who need assistance will find it easier to book a journey on ride-hailing app Uber.

The company announced on Monday it had made improvements to its uberAssist scheme, which has been around since 2015. The enhancements were made in partnership with the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC).

For one thing, the pool of trained drivers has grown, from 70 in 2015 to more than 500 now.

These drivers have all had basic assistance training developed by AIC, and are taught how to help passengers with dementia or who use assistive devices such as wheelchairs, get in and out of vehicles.

The bookings themselves will also become easier.

Previously, booking a ride under uberAssist required keying in a promotion code. Now, however, uberAssist will appear as an option on the booking page. Riders need only scroll until they find the option, alongside the uberX or uberPool options. The cost of a ride on uberAssist is around the same as one on the company's main ride-hailing service, uberX, said Uber.

General manager of Uber Singapore and Malaysia Warren Tseng said the company worked closely with AIC to expand its uberAssist service to more passengers.

Dr Jason Cheah, AIC chief executive, said: "We are heartened that seniors who need assistance with transport will have more options with uberAssist. With support to access care services and continue daily routines, seniors can continue to live and age well at home and in the community."