IIM Banglore Student’s Post on Making Ola and Uber Accessible for Hearing and Visually Impaired Goes Viral

India.com Buzz Desk
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Many would agree that travelling has become incredibly easy with the advent of multiple taxi apps. Booking a cab from place A to place B seems to be so convenient that some people even question the need for owning a car in a crowded city. Ola, Uber and numerous taxi apps not only help people book a car with one tap, but also make travel more comfortable and secure, thanks to their tracking systems. However, have we spared a thought to wonder if these apps are inclusive, or are they accessible to all? Especially for people with special needs. Well, an IIM student has written a lengthy post on Facebook which points out these limitations of the taxi-apps, and it has gone viral. The heart-warming post not just caught the attention of thousands of Facebook user, but also the Uber India team.

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The IIM Banglore student says that the taxi service apps are not as helpful as he would like them to be. “Many times, the cab drivers cancel my ride because I don’t pick their calls,” says Shaik Shoeb.“I don’t pick the calls made by the Uber/Ola driver to say that I am on my way. I don’t hear the music but can feel it. I don’t know what it is like to hear ‘sound’,” he said in a recent Facebook post. Through #MakeOlaAccessible and #MakeUberAccessible, the young boy wants to start a movement that would help others like him who are hearing impaired. Shaik shared the post on a Facebook page called Being You. The Tamil Nadu student adds that “To begin with, I want the taxi apps to include a feature to show that we are hearing impaired, so the drivers can text us. It would make a big difference for us and would also be a step towards inclusive India!”

At present, Ola and Uber offer a feature which allows users to chat with the driver. But reportedly, this feature doesn’t show always. In addition, there isn’t any way to intimate the driver if the customer is visually or hearing impaired.

Here’s what Shaik Shoeb said in the Facebook post:

Shaik’s message resonated with thousands of Facebook users, who commented saying that they identify well with his problem. Not just that, Shaik’s post also caught the attention of Prabhjeet Singh, who is head of strategy for Uber India. He said that, “At Uber, we are focused on building reliable mobility options, everywhere for everyone, including riders with special needs… we tested an in-app chat feature which provided an alternative to calling one another, should they want to get in touch. We are currently working on improving the functionality of this feature.” He also connected the IIM Banglore student with other Uber associates and promised to take this initiative forward.