Uber teams up with Nat'l Council for the Blind to help the visually-impaired

LAILI ISMAIL


KUALA LUMPUR: In a bid to expand e-hailing services to the visually-impaired, Uber Malaysia has partnered with the National Council for the Blind Malaysia (NCBM) to empower the blind with the independence to gain more mobility using the mobile application.


Through the partnership, NCBM will not only organise special training sessions for driver-partners on how to serve blind riders better but its members will also be able to enjoy free rides.


NCBM executive director Moses Choo said blind Malaysians have typically needed to rely on others for their transportation needs but with ridesharing services, they are able to get to work or visit friends independently.


“I have been using Uber for about two years and it has met accessibility standards.


“I really appreciate the cashless mode of payment as being visually impaired, differentiating certain Ringgit notes which have similar colours such as the RM20 and RM10 can be confusing.


“I also like the digital receipts that would be sent via email which means making claims is a breeze,” he said adding that currently there are about 200 NCBM members across the country who are using Uber.


Choo said using the mobile application can be intimidating at first but blind users can get the hang of the smartphone accessibility options such as VoiceOver for iOS and TalkBack on Android in no time.


Riders who are blind or have low vision could also share their journey details including specific routes and estimated time of arrival with family or friends for peace of mind.


Uber Malaysia general manager Leon Foong said the choice to be able to travel independently at the touch of a button should not be limited to able-bodied people.


“People with disabilities face more challenges designed for the able-bodied. In Malaysia it is estimated that there are 360,000 visually impaired people.


“We are proud to partner with NCBM to demonstrate how technology can solve real-world problems by offering safe and reliable transportation for blind people in Malaysia,” he told reporters here today.


Uber Malaysia, Foong said, will also work with NCBM to educate blind riders on how to use the Uber mobile application.


“NCBM is also invited to conduct sensitivity training for our driver partners and we always work towards making the access to the application better,” he added.