Q. I recently heard of an opportunity to make some extra money, but don’t know if it is a good idea for me. A friend was contacted by a smartphone-based ridesharing service that proposes introducing accessibility to their business, and I may be interested in participating, but I have questions.
Apparently the plan is to have people who own accessible vehicles drive their personal vans on behalf of the company. Sounds good, as I am a power chair user and own a wheelchair van. My wife normally drives with me riding in my wheelchair. During the day, while I am at work, the van sits idle. It makes sense to have her haul paying passengers who use mobility devices when she and the van are not busy. Private wheelchair transport services are expensive, taxicab companies have limited or no accessible vehicles and our local paratransit service is frustrating for riders who need to get somewhere on short notice.
How do rideshare services work now, and how would I get paid? If this is a valid means of bringing home some extra income, are there factors I should consider before pursuing this opportunity?
— Looking forward to your answers
A. Rideshare companies like Lyft, Uber and Sidecar allow passengers to request a ride, usually via smartphone, and a driver then picks them up in his or her own vehicle. In most cases, payment is made directly to the rideshare companies using a credit card that remains on file when riders sign up for the services. Drivers do not need to hand