RDTV accessible rides eclipse Uber and Lyft in Ashland

Riche Garza

Ashland residents seeking wheelchair accessible rides may not need to wait for ride share app companies like Uber and Lyft to register in the city.

Ashland City Council had originally asked the ride share app executives to provide transportation vehicles that could accommodate people with disabilities but in a four to two vote on Tuesday dropped the requirement.

The restrictions will be lifted if the proposes changes pass on second reading, which is expected at the council’s next business meeting Feb. 5.

Concerned resident Barbara Massey who spoke at the council meeting suggested the service would be good for shut-ins who may need to rush out at a time when bus services may not be available.

"It would serve a need that no body is thinking about," Massey said. "It serves a population that can’t drive. Quality of life is extremely important."

One company in the Rogue Valley has continued to provide transportation services to the disabled in the Ashland community.

Rogue Valley transportation district averages 230 rides per day.

Even though RDTV charges twice the fare for disabled individuals to ride, they continue to be at the forefront in the community and surrounding areas in helping to get people with disabilities to where they need to go.

"We have about 23-24 accessible vehicles for valley lift but typically use around 19 to 21 of those vehicles at any given time during the day," Tim Fountain Accessible Transportation Manager at RDTV said.

The council also agreed to send a letter of support to the Rogue Valley Transportation District to apply for a grant that would allow them to operate an on-demand service and pilot program study within Ashland.

If the grant is received and the program is established, this service will provide more coverage to the Ashland area and provide an ADA-accessible transportation program on-call at the same pricing to residents as already established by RVTD.

News 10 reached out to Uber and Lyft for comment to see if they would, in fact, register to operate in the City of Ashland following the vote but no one from either company returned our inquiries.

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