Ridesharing Made Easier For Deaf Drivers

Uber and Lyft have taken steps to improve relations with deaf and hard of hearing drivers.  

On Sept. 18, Lyft incorporated a new feature that texts riders to let them know their driver is deaf or hard of hearing. The text also includes a link to learn how to say “Hello” and “Thank you” in American Sign Language (ASL), not only making it easier for the driver and rider alike, but also educating those interested in appropriate communication with the deaf.

As if Sept. 28, every Uber rider will now see a “card” pop up when their driver is deaf or hard of hearing. If the rider taps on it, they’ll see different words they can learn in ASL to tell their driver.

Both of these new features are part of Uber’s and Lyft’s ongoing commitment to making life a bit easier for their deaf or hard of hearing drivers. Uber first announced in 2015 that the app would flash to let drivers know of a new ride request, as well as giving riders text-only options to get in contact with the driver.

In April, Lyft started to roll out notifications of new rides via the company’s Amp device to drivers. It also started texting riders to let them know to contact their driver via text instead of by phone call. Similar to Uber, Lyft also has a new function that makes the phone screen and flashlight blink to let the driver know of new ride requests.

Both companies launched the new features in honor of National Deaf Awareness Month and are working with the National Association of the Deaf to come up with ways the ride-sharing experience can be better as well as being all inclusive.