To: WMATA Board of Directors
Tell WMATA's Board of Directors: Don't Put MetroAccess Services in Jeopardy
I urge WMATA not to use companies like Uber and Lyft to provide public transportation services for people with disabilities. This will threaten fair, safe access to transportation for all riders and may lead to a two-tiered system that will inevitably lead to a lower class of service for wheelchair users.
Why is this important?
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority provides safe, quality public paratransit through MetroAccess so that everyone can get where they need to go, like work, the doctor’s office or just to run errands. The staff is friendly and well-trained and the vehicle fleet is adequately equipped to provide a high level of service to persons with disabilities.
But now, WMATA is considering contracting with companies like Uber and Lyft to provide these services to communities in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area. This is concerning because neither company ensures drivers have adequate access for wheelchair-accessible vehicles. This partnership also may lead to the creation of a system that will segregate passengers into those with mobility challenges and those without—leading to a lower class of service for wheelchair users.
The working conditions and regulation of Uber and Lyft also bring into question if they are the right fit to provide public transportation services.
We applaud WMATA for making efforts to give passengers quality transportation options. Now, it’s up to us as riders to make sure the solutions it implements will work for all passengers, prioritize safety and promote good working conditions and decent wages.