This edition of the Reader Mailbag is focused on rideshare companies Uber and Lyft, and the cities where you can get a wheelchair accessible ride.
About once a week, I'll dip into the mailbag to answer questions about accessible travel from readers just like you. If you have a question you'd like answered, send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Today's question was submitted by Stephanie from Raleigh, North Carolina. She asked:
Do you know which cities have UberWAV services? I would like to save money on taxi transportation for me and my electric wheelchair when I travel. I'd like to have it here at home too! Thank you!
I rode in my first UberWAV in Washington, D.C., and while the service isn't as prompt as it should be, it's half the price of a Yellow Cab (which may also not arrive promptly). When you have a disability, it's great to save money whenever possible.
But Washington, D.C. isn't the only place where wheelchair users can save. Check out this list of cities where Uber and Lyft operate wheelchair accessible services. That is, vans with a wheelchair ramp and securement straps.
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Wheelchair Accessible Uber/Lyft in the USA
Uber WAV and/or Lyft Access operate in the following U.S. cities.
I have not tested rideshare in Austin, but the following services are available.
- Uber WAV — Enter promo code WAVAUSTIN to unlock Uber WAV in this market. Pick-ups are available from the AUS airport.
Like a number of other cities around the country, Boston residents and tourists can utilize both Uber and Lyft for wheelchair accessible rideshare services. Although their fleets are small, it is important to sign-up for both to get the best deal and the fastest ride.
- Uber WAV — Pick-ups are NOT available at the BOS airport.
- Lyft Access — Pick-ups are available from the BOS airport.
- Uber WAV — Pick-ups are available from the ORD airport.
- Lyft Access — Pick-ups are available from the ORD airport.
I have not tested rideshare in Dallas, but look forward to doing so in the near future. It is all but impossible to get a wheelchair taxi in Dallas.
- Lyft Access — Pick-ups are available from Dallas Love Field (DAL) airport, but they are NOT available from DFW airport.
Uber WAV serves only a small part of Houston, and it is not available for airport pick-ups, where the wait for a wheelchair taxi often exceeds two hours.
- Uber WAV — Pick-ups are NOT available from the HOU or IAH airports.
Los Angeles, California
In my experience with Uber WAV and Lyft Access in Los Angeles, there are not enough wheelchair vans to satisfy demand, and you may be waiting for extended periods of time.
- Uber WAV — Pick-ups are available from LAX airport.
- Lyft Access — Service operates daily from 7:00 a.m. to midnight. Pick-ups and drop-offs are only available within Los Angeles County. Pick-ups are available from LAX airport.
New York City, New York
- Uber WAV — Pick-ups are available from the JFK and LGA airports, but they are NOT available from EWR airport.
- Lyft Access — Pick-ups are available from the JFK and LGA airports, but they are NOT available from EWR airport. ????
Uber and Lyft provide a wheelchair accessible service in Philadelphia, and I have found both to be reliable.
- Uber WAV — Pick-ups are available from PHL airport.
- Lyft Access — Pick-ups are available from PHL airport.
- Uber WAV — Pick-ups are available from PHX airport.
- Lyft Access — Pick-ups are made at PHX Airport, but only during the airport's hours of operations.
- Uber WAV — Pick-ups are available from PDX airport.
San Francisco, California
I have used both Uber WAV and Lyft Access in San Francisco. In my small sample size, I found Lyft Access to be more available. Uber often reported "No Cars Available," including at the airport. Uber WAV vans in San Francisco are side-entry, while Lyft Access vehicles are rear-entry.
- Uber WAV — Pick-ups are available from SFO airport, but vehicles are not always available.
- Lyft Access — Service operates daily from 7:00 a.m. to midnight. Pick-ups are only available within San Francisco County, but you may be dropped-off outside of the county. SFO airport is located in San Mateo County.
- Uber WAV — Pick-ups are available from the DCA and IAD airports, but vehicles are not always available outside of Arlington and the District of Columbia.
Wheelchair Accessible Uber/Lyft Outside of the USA
But there's more! It's not just the United States where you can score an accessible Uber of Lyft ride. These following cities are included also.
- Uber WAV
I have ridden Uber WAV numerous times in London. The vehicles dispatched are Citroen Berlingos with a rear-entry wheelchair ramp.
- Uber WAV
- Uber WAV
- Uber WAV
- Uber WAV — Pick-ups are available from YYZ Airport.
- Lyft Access — Pick-ups are NOT available from YYZ Airport.
For more information on Uber WAV, visit the Uber website.
For more information on Lyft Access, visit the Lyft website.
As national, state and local governments continue to hold rideshare operators to account, more wheelchair accessible services will be launched in cities around the world. If you become aware of any such services, please let us know in the comments below so that this list can remain updated.