As a taxi service it is important to meet the requirements of all your customers. More now than thanks to the pandemic, people have rethought their cities and the way in which customer service works. Those with disabilities often comment on how impossible it is for them to get around easily. Because despite the progress, they continue to feel invisible to others.
The United Nations has one of its “Sustainable Development Goals” dedicated to inclusion. Giving priority to citizens in vulnerable situations, such as people with disabilities, the elderly, children and women. Seeking to ensure that all of these have access to transport systems adapted to their needs. Several associations have already put their hands to work, so we invite you to take that step.
The novelty of paratransit
We know you've probably never heard of this term, but it's often used to refer to transportation for people with disabilities. Since most of them cannot or find it difficult to take the common means to mobilize. It has begun to be implemented in different countries, using subject specialists to know how to put it into action.
No one deserves to see their rights cut short, much less having the possibility of complying. So this service has begun to be provided at the same time they use on their normal routes and they are usually adapted cars. Large transport companies such as Uber have already started with cars of the ideal size, in addition to the necessary modifications to be able to properly serve people with disabilities.
How to introduce the paratransit into your taxi service?
Taxis to serve people with disabilities must adapt to details that a common car does not meet. Including swivel seats, trunks with space for wheelchairs, plus folding ramps to get on and off. Therefore, they must be more spacious, in countries like Mexico small vans are used to make it more comfortable. So conventional cars that were already used are not suitable for these reservations.
The positive thing is that by implementing apps like ToolRides you avoid having to wait in the street with your wheelchairs. Or know at what exact moment the driver who can be identified by his name will arrive. Besides that the route can be previously established, to cancel the payment from home without problems. The point is to make your taxi service as personalized and convenient as possible for the customer.
Give talks and training with drivers
Drivers will be the ones who will have to maintain direct contact with customers, so you must prepare them. That they remain patient in each reservation and that they help load wheelchairs, scooters or even crutches. It is difficult for these people to get around, so the least they deserve is good care.
It is important that in the case of serving customers with visual impairments, they are taken to the car. Always have communication and give the guide dog a space inside, which is usually very well trained. For most drivers within taxi services it will be a novelty. However, the breadth of the vehicles that serve for paratransit allows everyone to be without problems in comfort.
The best way to proceed with the trainings already mentioned is with examples. Show your drivers using the vehicle, how to raise the chair, how to accommodate the seats. Taking care of motor, visual and hearing disabilities, each one with its own requirements. Even if the training cannot always be given with the whole team, it can be recorded on video. Videos that are illustrative, easy to understand, and highly specific.
Talking about costs and investments
It is understandable if when reading all this you think, wouldn't that be a huge expense? But there are already companies that have implemented it without loss. Since they handle it like your other reservations with a minimum amount, which increases according to the distance. Only that a difference is made by raising that rate since they are cars that use more fuel and need adaptations.
It is recommended that when getting new cars they are spacious in the back, for more than two passengers or that the guide dog can enter. In addition to ample rear space to fit wheelchairs or scooters, which are the most used support tools. Investing in these cars or hiring drivers who already have them would save on modifications.
Get ahead of the competition
Beyond giving help to people with disabilities, you can provide a different service. Since the number of companies that have been involved towards this need is minimal. In addition to the fact that the number of people with disabilities in cities is usually higher than we think. So you will help people while your service is positioned among the most versatile.
It is important that your taxi service cares about meeting the needs of the community where you usually make reservations. That shows concern that motivates people to choose you over others. Now that you have visualized the changes that you will have to make, the type of car and how to introduce your drivers, all that remains is to start. Set up the plan according to the guidelines of your company so that you can take another step towards success.