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Tuesday, 14 July 2015 01:34

VIDEO: Uber hears the needs deaf riders and ‘driver-partners’

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Uber has made it easier for deaf and hard-of-hearing riders and driver-partners to be a customer or transport service provider with the Uber app, supported by Deaf Australia.

Although Uber’s treatment of some drivers through a reportedly aggressive points scoring system, changes to Uber X pricing and Uber Black percentages all seem to smack of a little too much greed, it seems Uber still has a heart.

The company has done so by announcing app updates ‘designed specifically for deaf and hard-of-hearing partners.’

Supported by Deaf Australia and development ‘in consultation’ with its partners, Uber says it is confident of the beneficial changes the development brings.

Kyle Miers, CEO of Deaf Australia said: “The Uber app updates announced today not only remove communication barriers between drivers and passengers, but offer more people in our community the chance to secure the financial independence they need to provide for their families and live a full life.”

Examples of changes include new trip requests to driver-partners showing a flashing light in addition to the existing audio notification.

Another change turns off calls to deaf or hard-of-hearing drivers turned off, with riders instead ‘only given the option to text their driver if they need to provide special instructions for pickup.’

There’s also a new ‘extra prompt for riders to enter their destination ahead of their trip and lets them know their driver is deaf or hard-of-hearing.’

The following video shows Uber partners Johann and Peter and ‘a glimpse into their experience driving with Uber and to see how these app updates improve it.’

It's a great video - without any audio - which starkly illustrates what Johann and Peter go through without the ability to hear anything. 

Rachel McKay, Chief Strategy Office of Conexu Foundation said :”Everyday, people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing experience communication barriers that limit their opportunity to work, study and socialise within the broader community. The enhancements Uber has made perfectly demonstrates how technology can be applied to make communication a non-issue and get people back in the game.”


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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