Uber is a great service for disabled people, and it should be the case that Uber Assist only improves this.
However, at present it isn’t.
So what’s the problem?
Uber By Itself Is Great
Now for clarity’s sake, I have been using Uber for a number of years and I think on the whole, it is a great tool.
It has helped me go from a part time freelancer to running a successful business.
I use it all the time and there have been times, when it has got me out of a few tight spots..
There are many advantages, especially when compared to traditional private hire firms.
Read: How To Travel If You’re Disabled
So why don’t I like Uber Assist?
Assist should be better right?
Well, it should be, but right now it isn’t working right.
What’s Wrong With Uber Assist
The first problem is that drivers are enticed to train for Assist by the offer of improved commission rates.
So, although the rider is not paying extra for a ‘improved’ service, the driver is actually making more money.
In practice, this means that drivers want Assist jobs, which you can understand.
However, the upshot is that drivers can be hostile if they’re not getting Assist rates.
This has happened to me on a number of occasions and it is less than pleasant.
One driver actually forced me to cancel the job and rebook as an Uber Assist job. This meant that I had to pay an extra £4 and it made the rest of the journey hell.
Now as I have said previously, I was using Uber regularly without too many problems before Assist was a thing.
Sure, every so often you got a driver who was less than pleasant but I have to say that Uber have excellent complaint procedures.
Don’t get me wrong the process could have been more straightforward but I just stuck to a script:
“That wheelchair won’t fit…”
“The wheels come off.”
“I’ll show you.”
That was all it took for the most part.
That was it and that worked for (most part) for YEARS
Then Assist has changed it.
Assist has given some drivers license to refuse you.
“Have you booked an Assist? You should have booked an Assist…
Now, technically I should book an Assist.
However, here’s the thing, I just want a Uber as fast as possible. I’m the customer after all, I should be able to choose.
I suspect that I would feel differently if there were logistical reasons why I couldn’t just jump in the first X that comes along.
But, I don’t and that is because I took the time think about it. I took time to think about the dimensions of my chair, how it comes apart and how to explain the process.
What I’m getting at here is by trying to be more inclusive, Uber is becoming exclusive, and some drivers are using it as a stick to beat passengers with.
What’s the answer?
I’m not sure…
However, I know what I want. I want to be able to order an Uber and ride like I have been doing for years, and not be harassed because of something that is of no benefit to me.
What is adulting?
Well, it is slang for when someone is said to achieve behaviour seen as responsible and grown up.
You know being responsible with money, having hobbies outside of intoxication and just generally having a plan.
Most people are worried about adulthood. Millennials worry about never being able to afford their own home or being able to reach the level of stability of their parents.
Teenagers are just worried that they won’t have a planet left.
But what if you grow up disabled?
What does adulting mean to young disabled people?
It can be hard for many young disabled people to see themselves as adults. Milestones like getting that first job, house or long-term relationship can feel unrealistic and even unachievable.
A lot of young disabled people feel inadequate to begin with.
Why Do Many Disabled People Worry About Adulting?
For many young disabled people A LOT is always being done for them. This is because too many people assume that they CAN’T do something.
This often means that they don’t do many activities of daily living such as washing, cleaning and cooking. Or perhaps even paying for things in a shop…
Now, this often leads to feelings of anxiety around new experiences or evening doing things.
When it comes to growing into adulthood as young disabled person, the worries can often feel bigger than just how do I pay a bill?
The paradox for many young disabled people, when it comes to adulting is that they are often further along than they think.
Stop and think for a second….
Do you manage your own PAs?
Do you manage so many appointments that it makes your head spin?
What about meds, do you need a timetable to keep track?
Have you filled out more forms than you can remember?
Of course you have…
These kinds of ‘adult’ actions are the types of things that most young people loose their mind over.
You’ve already got this stuff covered.
The paradox is that you’re sweating the small stuff like cooking and cleaning.
How To Smash Adulting
There are gaps in your experience right?
Your parents, PA and friends always do a lot of stuff right?
Like pay for stuff in the shop.
Plan a journey.
Well, we’ve previously written a bunch of articles around doing lots of these things.
What to keep with you at all times.
The Key Things To Remember
The real key to adulting as a young disabled person is forget what you think you cannot do and think instead … how can I do something?
Break down small activities into steps…
Any activity is a process. However, the average person process for many disabled people is unrealistic.
Your personal limitation will get in the way.
That doesn’t mean that it is impossible.
There are now a wealth of products to support you such as Active Hands, Muggi or Quokka Bag.
Here’s the thing, it is all about taking Ownership and Control back to you. Because lets be real here, you are not just trying to convince yourself that you can do these things, you are trying to CONVINCE those around you.
So where someone might want to step in and say, open a packet for you, ALWAYS refuse.
That is how you build confidence in yourself and the confidence of those around you.
As stupid as it sounds, opening a pre-packed sandwich is the first step to much bigger things for many young disabled people.