UberASSIST launches in New Zealand

15th April 2016

On April 12 Uber launched a new service in Auckland and Wellington, UberASSIST. We asked Richard Menzies, City Lead from Uber New Zealand, a few questions about the new service.

UberAssistWhat is Uber?

Uber is a smartphone app that connects people who need safe, reliable rides to drivers. Founded in 2009, Uber now serves over 400 cities in more than 60 countries and facilitates more than a million rides every day. Uber launched in New Zealand and today over 100,000 Kiwis use Uber to move around their city.

What is uberASSIST and who is it aimed at?

With uberASSIST, Uber’s top driver-partners participate in facilitated information sessions, developed by Be.Accessible to increase Uber driver-partners’ confidence and help them to offer a greater level of assistance to people who may require extra support when they travel. Note: uberASSIST vehicles can accommodate folding wheelchairs, walkers, and collapsible scooters, but do not have accessible ramps or lifts.

How did it come about?

Uber's vision is to make transport as reliable as running water, for everyone, everywhere. This includes extending the affordability and reliability created by Uber's technology to members of the community with different accessibility needs. We work hard everyday to optimise our technology, and we work closely with drivers on Uber to provide a consistently reliable service. We wanted to work with a forward-thinking organisation in the accessibility space to leverage their expertise and Be. Accessible's vision clearly aligned with ours.

How was it working with Be. Accessible?

We worked closely with Be. Accessible to create a fully accessible culture among driver-partners. As an industry-leading expert in the accessibility space, they helped us define how the UberASSIST platform would best service the access community in New Zealand, as well as helping develop our access information sessions for driver-partners.

Be. Accessible were flexible and able to collaborate to develop a programme that aligns with our vision and was practical to implement at scale.

What have you learned from the process?

Changing perceptions and building confidence and compassion, takes thought and time. Facilitating conversations between driver-partners about providing a high quality service, as well as the steps required to provide additional support, means that people need to participate and take the time to internalise what accessibility and service means to them.

What is your vision for uberASSIST?

Our goal is to develop a fully accessible culture. Be. Accessible's forward-thinking approach, combined with Uber's technology, means that we can facilitate these important conversations at scale and constantly enhance both the quality of service offered by driver-partners, and the reliability of the uberASSIST service. Once we can get to a place where every driver-partner has the confidence and understanding to offer additional assistance to those members of the community who require an extra hand when they travel, we can really offer transportation as reliable as running water, to everyone, everywhere.

For more information about Uber ASSIST visit