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What is Uber WAV and How Does It Work?

Uber WAV is a service that redefines accessible transportation. This guide covers everything you need to know about the service and how to use it.

Key Takeaways

  • Uber WAV offers rides for wheelchair users with accessible features and trained drivers.
  • accessibility.
  • Prices align with UberX, making WAV affordable, though availability may vary by location.
  • When WAV isn’t available, consider alternatives like Uber Assist or other transport options.

What is Uber WAV?

Uber WAV, standing for “Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles,” is a service by Uber designed to provide accessible transportation for individuals using wheelchairs or mobility aids.

a screenshot of Uber WAV within the Uber app
Image Credit: Uber

Launched in 2014, it highlights Uber’s commitment to inclusivity by offering specially equipped vehicles and drivers trained in wheelchair assistance and safety protocols.

Unlike standard Uber services like UberX and UberXL, Uber WAV ensures that vehicles are properly adapted for accessibility and offer reliable transportation for those with specific needs.

How Uber WAV Works

Uber WAV operates through a collaboration with disability rights organizations, including the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), to design and provide training for the service’s unique features.

The core of Uber WAV is its specially designed vehicles, equipped with mini ramps, lowered floors, or lifts for easy wheelchair access, as well as straps and docking points to securely accommodate both standard and motorized wheelchairs as well as service animals.

The booking process is similar to ordering a regular Uber ride, but enhancing accessibility by allowing users to select the WAV option after inputting their pickup and dropoff locations.

Drivers are trained to assist with boarding and securing wheelchairs, ensuring a safe and comfortable ride.

In addition, Uber WAV includes all standard Uber services like roadside assistance and 24/7 support, making it a seamless and inclusive option for riders with mobility needs.

Other UberWAV features include the following.

  • A spacious interior that can accommodate most wheelchairs
  • Typical types of vehicles: Chrysler Town & Country, Ford E-150, or Ford Transit Connect
  • Doorways that are at least 31.5 inches wide
  • Total number of passengers allowed: 3+
  • Lift or ramp capacity: 600+ pounds

Uber WAV vs Uber Assist

A lot of people think that Uber WAV and Uber Assist are the same thing because they both cater to similar requirements.

However, they’re two distinct services with a unique purpose for each one. Here’s a quick look at the differences between them.


The main purpose of Uber WAV is to provide assistance for wheelchair users. The service includes helping the passengers get into the car, securing them and their wheelchairs, and helping them get out upon arrival.

On the other hand, Uber Assist focuses on providing general assistance in getting in and out of the car.

Vehicles and Drivers

Uber WAV rides are special vehicles that come with various wheelchair-accessible features to provide accessibility. The drivers also receive special training to deal with different types of wheelchairs.

Uber Assist, however, doesn’t have a special vehicle. Instead, it uses the standard UberX vehicle for transportation.


Uber WAV has a specific target demographic, as it’s mainly built to help wheelchair users.

As for Uber Assist, it caters to a wider range of users who might need additional assistance but may not require a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, such as:

  • Pregnant women
  • Handicapped individuals
  • Seniors and older people
  • People with visual or hearing difficulties
  • Riders with service animals
  • Riders with simple mobility aids (may also use Uber WAV in the case of foldable wheelchairs)

Cost and Availability of Uber WAV

Generally, Uber WAV fares are comparable to UberX, the platform’s base option. This puts WAV rides at the lower end of the pricing structure, making it among the most affordable Uber services.

However, Uber WAV is still affected by the same pricing factors for Uber fares, such as distance and duration of the trip.

While tipping your WAV driver is not required, acknowledging their assistance with entry and exit is always a nice gesture.

Additionally, since Uber WAV doesn’t cost you any more than a regular UberX ride, you should consider tipping your driver for the extra effort.

Uber WAV Availability

Uber WAV is available in multiple U.S. cities, including major ones like Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, among others.

Finding an Uber WAV can be challenging due to fewer vehicles with ramps or lifts, so I suggest booking in advance where the service is offered.

Internationally, Uber WAV is also present in countries like Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, New Zealand, and the UK.

To check if Uber WAV is available in your area, the most direct method is to open the Uber app and search for the WAV option.

How to Request an Uber WAV Ride

  1. Open the Uber app (make sure you’ve updated the app to the latest version.)
  2. Set your trip by tapping the “Where to?” box, and choose your pickup and drop-off points. Keep in mind that you can set multiple drop-off points just like a regular UberX ride.
  3. Look for the option labeled “WAV” at the bottom of the screen (will only be visible in eligible regions). In some cities, you may also need to enter a particular promo code to use the service.
  4. Review the estimated fare and double-check your trip details. If everything looks good, tap “Confirm WAV” to start searching for a driver
  5. Once you connect with a driver, you can communicate with them about the route and discuss any specific accessibility needs you have. You’ll also be able to track the ride on your phone.
  6. When the driver reaches your destination, check the vehicle and driver’s details before entering the car.

What to Expect During the Ride

While the Uber WAV experience is fairly similar to a standard UberX ride, it still includes some unique aspects.

Here’s a quick look at what you should expect during the ride.

  • WAV drivers can assist riders with wheelchairs (other mobility aids are welcome too.)
  • They’ll help you get into and out of the vehicle.
  • You’ll ride an UberX vehicle, so the ride will be priced accordingly. However, the rides may also include lowered floors, wide doorways, and ramps for easy wheelchair access.
  • WAV availability may vary depending on your location and time of day, so consider booking in advance.

Contingency Plans: When Uber WAV Isn’t Available

Since Uber WAV availability is limited, you should always have a plan B for when a ride isn’t available, especially for return trips.

Here are some solutions to consider in that case:

  • Consider Uber Assist: While not as comfortable for wheelchair users as Uber WAV, Uber Assist is still quite reliable and covers a larger area.
  • Book Your Trip in Advance: This can save you trouble during rush hours and spare you the waiting time.
  • Consider Transport Alternatives: Research accessible transportation options in your destination. Many cities have designated seats for people with wheelchairs in public transport.
  • Check Other Service Providers: Uber alternatives like Lyft can also offer WAV rides, so consider checking the app as they have different availability

Real-World Experiences and Testimonials

Uber WAV offers a much-needed service for wheelchair users, and the user experience speaks for that.

Most riders who used the service found it remarkably comfortable and convenient. Users also commended the affordability of the rides and the professionalism of the drivers.

Despite its many merits, users also pointed out some challenges with the current system, including limited coverage.

Others also noted that some UberX cars aren’t ideal for accommodating wheelchair users comfortably.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Uber WAV Reliable?

Uber WAV can be a reliable option for motorized wheelchair users, disabled riders, and people who need extra assistance getting into their booked ride.

That being said, some factors might affect the reliability of the service. This includes limited availability and occasional late time of arrival during rush hours.

Can Anybody Use Uber WAV?

Uber WAV is designed for those with non-foldable wheelchairs, but others with disabilities, including users of folding wheelchairs, walkers, and canes, can also use the service. However, if you don’t use a wheelchair but require special assistance, Uber Assist is recommended.

Conclusion: Empowering Mobility with Confidence

Uber WAV offers a vital service for a lot of people, enhancing the mobility of riders with disabilities and offering a remarkable example of Uber’s drive for inclusivity.

So there you have it. A complete guide to help you stay informed about using Uber WAV confidently for your transportation needs.

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