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Uber WAV for Drivers — The What, The How, and More

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Key Takeaways

  • Uber WAV is a specialized service for riders with disabilities, featuring vehicles with lifts and ramps.
  • To drive for Uber WAV, you need a wheelchair-accessible vehicle and specialized training.
  • Earnings are comparable to other Uber services, with additional incentives and bonuses in some cities.
  • Driving for Uber WAV offers personal satisfaction by assisting individuals with accessibility needs.

What Is Uber WAV?

Uber WAV (wheelchair-accessible vehicle) is a ride option for people with accessibility challenges. The rides come with lifts and ramps, so riders don’t have to leave their wheelchairs to get inside the vehicle.

As an Uber WAV driver, you not only get to earn money from gigs but also help your community and enjoy low service fees for all trips.

Plus, since WAV riders often need assistance getting in and out of the vehicle, Uber WAV trips generally take longer. As such, you can keep your regularly scheduled trips and get requests for UberX trips in between.

The service is available in these U.S cities:

  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Houston
  • Indianapolis
  • Kansas City
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Nashville
  • NYC
  • Orlando
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • Pittsburg
  • Portland
  • Salt Lake City
  • San Antonio
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Tampa
  • Washington

The Uber WAV service is also accessible outside the U.S.:

  • London, UK
  • Bangalore, India
  • Newcastle, Australia

How Can You Become an Uber WAV Driver?

To drive for Uber WAV, you have to complete a set of requirements beyond what’s needed to be a regular UberX driver. The extras include:

  • Getting a wheelchair-accessible vehicle
  • Completing specialized training in helping individuals with limited mobility
  • Opting in to receive WAV trips

If you don’t have a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, you can request to rent one through MV Transportation or other third-party partners when you opt in. Opting in involves completing an online form by filling in your contact details, including the city you operate in.

a screenshot of the Uber WAV partner interest form
A screenshot of the Uber WAV partner interest form

Eligible WAVs include:

  • Dodge Grand Caravan
  • Toyota Sienna
  • Honda Odyssey
  • Ford Transit Connect
  • Mercedes-Benz Metris
  • Chrysler Town & Country
  • Nissan NV200
  • Toyota Pilot

While this is not a comprehensive list, these are some of the vehicles that you will most likely encounter while using the service.

How Much Can You Make as an Uber WAV Driver?

Reports from users show that Uber WAV drivers make the same as other ridesharing services, which is about $0.34 per mile, including expenses like insurance and maintenance.

Still, your exact earnings may vary depending on where you live. For instance, Uber may provide bonuses for WAV drivers who transport riders in motorized scooters or wheelchairs.

What Are the Benefits of Being an Uber WAV Driver?

image showing a man in a wheelchair going into a vehicle like Uber Wav for drivers

The Uber WAV service offers some perks for drivers, including:

1. Access to More Trips

You get offers from UberX riders and requests from Uber WAV passengers with disabilities. You can also work for UberXL and Uber Assist if you have a wheelchair-accessible van.

2. Uber Incentives

There are WAV-exclusive promotions and quests for drivers, with bonuses varying from city to city. For example, requests in the Boston area include a $200 bonus for completing 50 WAV rides. You’ll also get a $15 bonus on each completed ride.

3. Personal Satisfaction

Working as an Uber WAV driver is a way to contribute positively to your community. Drivers derive immense personal satisfaction from providing rides to seniors and individuals with accessibility issues.

4. Better Tips

Uber WAV drivers arguably get better tips than other Uber drivers, seeing as they have the opportunity to provide hands-on assistance to riders.

That’s because Uber WAV riders are often grateful to have access to convenient transportation and are happy to tip more than usual.

Best Practices as an Uber WAV Driver

Many Uber WAV riders use foldable wheelchairs and scooters. And so, it’s essential to know how to store them to help people with limited mobility feel independent and welcome in your car.

After receiving a ride request, you can start by asking the rider how best you can help. Following their instructions will guide you on how best to handle the equipment.

You’re also obliged to provide service to riders with service animals, so ensure that you treat the animals as carefully as their owners.

Riders can bring companions with them on trips, so your vehicle should have all seatbelts functional to help secure everyone on board.

Uber WAV vs. Uber Assist: What’s the Main Difference?

Uber WAV is specifically for disabled riders using non-foldable wheelchairs, while Uber Assist is for disabled riders who don’t need wheelchair ramps or lifts.

Here’s how Uber WAV and Uber Assist compare:

Point of Comparison Uber WAVUber Assist
Special training requirementsYesYes
Mobility scheme for riders with accessibility issuesYesYes
Vehicles equipped with ramps or lifts YesNo
Legal obligation to help with service animalsYesYes

Frequently Asked Questions

Is UberX More Profitable Than Uber WAV?

Being an Uber WAV driver is arguably more profitable than working on UberX. You stand a better chance of earning extra from tips due to the personal services rendered to your riders.

Plus, as an Uber WAV driver, you can make more money from accepting UberX rides.

On the other hand, if you’re an UberX driver, you can’t accept Uber WAV trips—not until you complete the required training and have a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.

What Is the Animal Service Policy for Uber WAV Drivers?

Uber WAV drivers must comply with all applicable laws regarding the transportation of service animals.

You’ll receive in-app notifications that require you to acknowledge the legal obligations related to accepting animals on trips.

A specialized support team also handles all service animal-related issues for proper investigation, documentation, and resolution.

Brett’s Take: Thoughts From an Expert

I think Uber WAV is a great service to drive with if possible. It is a great way to help people get around.

When I first started researching this service, I was really surprised that these types of specialized drivers don’t earn a lot more than regular Uber drivers. I figured they would, given the unique type of transportation they are providing.

I’ve also heard that the training for Uber WAV drivers isn’t as comprehensive as I would expect, either. Drivers oftentimes rely on what they think is best, and sort of just learn from their passengers as they go.

I think this service is a novel step in the right direction for Uber, but I would suggest offering more formalized training. It would be great to see a required certification program or something like that.

Drivers could benefit from this training. After all, many might not know how to or think about properly securing a wheelchair for the ride, or providing consistent quality for this type of service.

Wrapping Up

Uber WAVs are a way for you to make money in the gig economy and feel good about it. As long as you have an eligible vehicle equipped with ramps and lifts, you can look forward to getting ride requests.

As a driver, you’re obliged to be courteous and helpful to your riders. No matter their disability, your job is to provide them with a memorable ride and contribute meaningfully to their lives.

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