Ride-hailing apps have become a popular and convenient way of transportation for many people in Ghana. Currently, the ride-sharing space is dominated by big brand names like Uber and Bolt.
But most of the ride-sharing apps, most of them seem to be neglecting one part of the community: Persons with disability, especially persons with wheelchairs.
According to the Ghana Statistical Services (GSS), 3% of the Ghanaian population is suffering from some form of disability. More than 700,000 individuals in Ghana have a disability and households that include a person with a disability experience poverty at more than 10% the rate of other households. However, there are no clear standards or guidelines for ride-hailing apps to ensure that they provide accessible services for wheelchair users.
Lack of WAV support on Ride Sharing Apps
One of the main challenges is the lack of wheelchair-accessible vehicles (WAVs) options on ride-sharing platforms in Ghana.
Most of the vehicles that are available on ride-hailing apps are regular cars that are not equipped to accommodate wheelchairs. This means that wheelchair users have to either transfer to a seat, which can be difficult and uncomfortable, or rely on other modes of transportation, such as taxis or buses, which may not be as reliable or safe.
In other jurisdictions like the US, Uber provides WAV options for persons with disabilities on their app. However, this is yet to be transferred to the local ecosystem in Ghana.
Disability Laws and Regulation In Ghana
But what does the local Ghana law say about disability and enforcement for persons with disability? Although the country has a disability law that guarantees equal rights and opportunities for persons with disabilities, including access to transportation, there is little implementation and monitoring of this law.
There are no clear standards or guidelines for ride-hailing apps to ensure that they provide accessible services for wheelchair users. There are also no penalties or incentives for drivers or passengers who violate or respect the rights of wheelchair users.
The Act says that public transportation should integrate the needs of persons with disability.
These challenges pose a serious barrier for wheelchair users who want to enjoy the convenience and affordability of ride-hailing apps in Ghana. They also limit their mobility and independence, which can affect their social and economic opportunities.
Therefore, there is a need for more action and collaboration from various stakeholders, such as ride-hailing companies, government agencies, civil society organizations, and wheelchair users themselves, to address these issues and promote wheelchair accessibility for ride-hailing apps in Ghana.
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