The success of a pilot program initiated last year is turning The Ride, a critically important MBTA program that assists those with disabilities that prevent them from accessing regular fixed-route transit service, from a symbol of the T’s financial woes to one of the authority’s rebirth.

Under the pilot, The Ride contracts with Uber and Lyft to provide transportation when appropriate. Previously, the MBTA used fully equipped vans for most trips, even though Ride users require wheelchairs less…