Equal opportunities for all
● One in six Australians suffer from some degree of hearing loss, and one in two are over the age of 60. Additionally, hearing loss is projected to increase to 1 in 4 Australians by 2050.
● For these Australians, facing adversity is part of everyday life, especially when it comes to participation in the workforce. Unfortunately, there are still significant barriers to earning a steady income for many people in the deaf and hard of hearing community.
● Older adults are also at a greater risk of becoming isolated due to a range of physical, social and structural factors – including hearing loss. Hearing loss is often misunderstood, overlooked or simply not discussed, yet it can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life and ability to work.
● At Uber we believe everyone has the right to financial independence, and flexible economic opportunities should be made available to all.
● Ridesharing offers those who are deaf or hard of hearing a new way to work, on their terms, and in doing so boosts the incomes of people who need it most.
● In an era of where the cost of living is rising, ridesharing gives deaf and hard of hearing partners an opportunity to provide for themselves and their family, all with the flexibility to work when, where and how they want.
Uber App Features for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Partners
● We’re always working to make the Uber experience as hassle-free as possible for our riders and driver-partners.
● That’s why we introduced app updates designed specifically for deaf and hard-of-hearing partners.
● The updates were developed in consultation with our partners and are supported by Deaf Australia, the leading advocacy group for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community in Australia.
● While the changes themselves are small, they have a significant impact for our deaf and hard-of-hearing partners.
● This includes notifying riders that their driver is Deaf or hard of hearing when they request a ride; allowing riders to contact their driver only via text message rather than phone call; and instead of emitting sounds, the app flashes to alert the driver to updates.
● These features were developed following extensive conversations with our deaf and hard-of-hearing partners, which helped identify frustrating interactions in the driving experience.
● This technology eases the communication between riders and drivers, helping more people in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community embrace ridesharing.
● These updates not only improve the Uber experience for riders and drivers, but also extend the earning opportunity that Uber presents to the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities.
Working with governments to open up opportunities for the deaf and hard of hearing community
● After ongoing and consistent representation from Uber and many disability advocacy groups, Austroads published new national ‘Assessing Fitness to Drive’ guidelines in October 2016, stipulating a change to case-by-case assessment for deaf and hard of hearing drivers.
● The guidelines acknowledge that advances in technology have meant that many of the traditional barriers for deaf or hard of hearing drivers can now be overcome through technology solutions.
● According to the new ‘Assessing Fitness to Drive’ guidelines anyone who is deaf or hard of hearing can apply for a commercial driving licence with the understanding that they will need to undergo individualised clinical assessments. These assessments will determine if the licence must be conditional on the use of hearing aids or other assistive technologies.
● With all state governments embracing the opportunity ridesharing brings to their cities, the NSW and Qld state governments have begun implementing AustRoads guidance to enable deaf and hard of hearing drivers to obtain a Driver Authorisation required to access economic opportunities provided by ridesharing.
● However, ridesharing regulations in some jurisdictions still prevent many drivers who are Deaf or hard of from sharing rides to access flexible work.
● Uber continues to work with the deaf and hard of hearing community and disability advocacy groups to increase awareness within Governments that people who are Deaf or hard of hearing are safe drivers, and advocate for the need to update the requirements.
How to become a driver-partner
● Sign up to drive at t.uber.com/signtodriveau
● Upload your required documents (document requirements vary by state, but generally include your driver licence, passport, and auto insurance).
● NSW – Watch your inbox for email instructions on how to apply for a Driver Authority from Roads and Maritime Services. After submitting your DA application, RMS will contact you and advise which medical reports you must obtain. Individuals with hearing loss will usually require an assessment by a GP, followed by an audiology report. This can be completed at a Connect Hearing clinic free of charge by advising the clinic you are signing up to be an Uber driver-partner.
● QLD – Watch your inbox for email instructions on how to apply for a Driver’s Authorisation from Department of Transport. You must complete a medical exam prior to applying, which you can complete with your own GP or a discounted rate at your local Uber Greenlight Hub. If the GP advises you’ll need an audiology report, you can obtain one free of charge at a Connect Hearing clinic by advising the clinic you are signing up to be an Uber driver-partner.
Supportive third party quotes
“Deaf people have always been able to do anything and everything, and innovative businesses like Uber ensure that Deaf people have equal opportunity. Uber has taken that one step further by working with the Deaf community and its members to ensure they are a part of the dynamic changes that are happening nowadays.” – Drisana Levitzke-Gray, Young Australian of the Year 2015
“It is always exciting when you come across an organisation that is committed to inclusion, like Uber. Their commitment to empowering deaf and hard of hearing Australians to become Uber drivers is evident in their willingness to make the Uber Partner app more deaf-friendly with updates including adding flashing notifications to the existing audio notifications. They have also provided Auslan interpreted information sessions and worked with the government to overcome commercial licence restrictions for deaf people.
Their tenacity for inclusion is truly admirable.” – Leonie Jackson, Chief Executive Officer, The Deaf Society “The Uber app updates not only remove communication barriers between drivers and passengers, but offer more people in our community the chance to secure the financial independence they need to provide for their families and live a full life.” – Kyle Miers, Chief Executive, Deaf Australia “Every day, people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing experience communication barriers that limit their opportunity to work, study and socialise within the broader community. The enhancements Uber has made perfectly demonstrates how technology can be applied to make communication a non-issue and get people back in the game.” – Rachel McKay, Chief Strategy Officer, Conexu Foundation