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Uber’s New Update Gives Riders ASL Tips

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By Aliza Patel

The Mirror Staff

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“I like the initiative Uber is taking and I’m glad they’re accommodating for the drivers.”

FEATURE

Uber’s New Update Gives Riders ASL Tips

November 13, 2017

COMMUTE: Uber’s newest feature is designed to help hearing impaired drivers by teaching riders a few easy phrases in sigh language.


Language barriers exist between millions of people, but Uber has worked to break a different kind of barrier: an auditory one.

Uber recently released a new update to their app on Sept. 28, allowing riders to learn simple American Sign Language (ASL) signs. Some of these signs include how to say ‘thank you’, say ‘hello’, or give simple directions in order to better communicate with deaf or hard of hearing drivers.

“I think Uber teaching riders sign language is a good idea because sometimes there’s an auditory barrier between the driver and rider,” said Joseph Pino, an Uber driver who is slightly hard of hearing.

“Teaching someone a simple ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ will be meaningful to hard of hearing drivers.”

This new feature was released within the last few days of Deaf Awareness Month and has helped thousands of hearing impaired Uber drivers who, collectively, have completed over a million trips.

However, this is not the first time the company has done something to benefit impaired drivers. Uber previously launched features designed to benefit the deaf or hard of hearing in 2015.

Considering that the unemployment rate for people who are deaf or hard of hearing is about 70 percent, Uber teamed up with the nonprofit organization, Communication Service for the Deaf, to create more jobs for the hearing impaired.

Some of the features they created include a flashing light to signal ride requests and a text-only communication for deaf or hard of hearing drivers.

“I like the initiative Uber is taking and I’m glad they’re accommodating for the drivers.” Pino said.

Along with these features, a simple click of a card in the Uber feed leads to a page where people can select which word or phrase they want to sign to their driver. Simple phrases are learned in a matter of seconds, allowing riders to sign with ease to their drivers.

Many people are pleased by the new features, and Uber said that they were proud to provide job opportunities for the hearing impaired.

Pino also adds that learning one or two simple signs doesn’t take much effort on the rider’s part, but can be immensely meaningful to the driver.

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Uber’s New Update Gives Riders ASL Tips