Lawsuit Season; Uber Facing Another Suit Over Wheelchair-Accessible Cars

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UberASSIST accessibility service

Uber has been at the center of many lawsuits as of late. The company received a barrage of class action lawsuits and allegations of sexual assault and rape.

Now the company is facing a lawsuit filed by The Equal Rights Center in Washington D.C, which accuses Uber of failing to provide access to people who use wheelchairs. The car service company is also being accused of violating Title 3 of the Americans with Disabilities Act and D.C’s Human Rights Act, according to CNN.

The lawsuit alleges that Uber has excluded people who use non-foldable wheelchairs in the D.C area and have failed to offer wheelchair-accessible cars in its UberX line. The lawsuit also says the Uber app fails to inform passengers which of their cars are able to service people with wheelchairs.

For wheelchair users in the D.C ares who rely on public tranportation services, Uber would give them the opportunity to choose a more convenient form of public transportation.

“Were they to be accessible to wheelchair users, Uber’s transportation services could have life-changing effects for wheelchair users, improving their ability to work, study, participate in community life, and generally to live more independently,” the lawsuit claims.

Title 3 of the Americans with Disabilities Act
prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the activities of places of public accommodations (businesses that are generally open to the public and that fall into one of 12 categories listed in the ADA, such as restaurants, movie theaters, schools, day care facilities, recreation facilities, and doctors’ offices).

The law requires newly constructed or altered places of public accommodation—as well as commercial facilities (privately owned, nonresidential facilities such as factories, warehouses, or office buildings)—to comply with the ADA Standards.

However, Uber does offer options for seniors as well as people with disabilities called uberASSISt. UberASSIST can accommodate folding wheelchairs, walkers, and even scooters. The uberASSIST page states:

“At Uber, we strive to create transportation options that fit everyone’s needs. Today we are announcing a new option that will allow riders needing an extra hand to request safe and reliable rides at the tap of a button — uberASSIST.”

“uberASSIST is designed to provide additional assistance to seniors and people with disabilities. Driver-partners are specifically trained by Open Doors Organization to assist riders into vehicles and can accommodate folding wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters.”

Furthermore, a spokesperson for Uber said the company is committed to bettering their services for people with disabilities.

“We take this issue seriously and are committed to continued work with the District, our partners, and stakeholders toward expanding transportation options and freedom of movement for all residents throughout the region,” an Uber spokesperson wrote to The Verge.

Amidst all the controversy, last week former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down from the company.  Beyond the rape and sexual assault cases, the company is facing lawsuits for allegedly pocketing an unfair share of its driver wages. The car service has definitely seen better days.

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