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Disability Groups Claim Uber Is Discriminating against Them
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UberWAV

Summary: Uber has been used by disability advocates in New York City for not having enough wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

Uber may have thought things were turning around after co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down. Unfortunately, the lawsuits against the ride-hailing company do not seem to be going away. The latest suit filed against the company claims that almost all of their drivers do not have cars that are accessible for disabled customers.

  
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A nonprofit disability rights organization has filed the class-action lawsuit in the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan alleging that Uber discriminates against New York City riders with disabilities by not providing access to vehicles that are wheelchair friendly.

The lawsuit by the Disability Rights Advocates in partnership with The Brooklyn Center for Independence for the Disabled, Disabled in Action of Metropolitan New York, Taxis for All Campaign and other organizations states, “Having grown rapidly since it began operating in New York in 2011, Uber providers hundreds of thousands of rides a day in New York City, but for riders who need wheelchair-accessible vehicles, it provides vastly inferior service, or in many cases, no service at all.”

The lawsuit claims that of the 58,000 Uber vehicles available in the city, less than 100 are considered wheelchair-accessible. Uber offers these vehicles through their UberWAV service but they are available to anyone so the accessible cars may not always be available when needed. This results in “extended wait times” or no service at all for disabled users.

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The lawsuit wants Uber to “develop and implement a remedial plan to ensure full and equal access to its services for riders who require accessible transportation.”

Uber claims they have around 200 wheelchair-accessible vehicles in the city. Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang said, “Uber’s technology has expanded access to reliable transportation options for all riders, including those with disabilities and has enabled people with disabilities to earn income in new ways. While there is certainly more work to be done, we will continue advocating for a solution that offers affordable, reliable transportation to those who need a wheelchair accessible vehicle.”



Similar lawsuits have popped up in places like Washington D.C., Chicago, and Jackson, Mississippi. Uber Access was launched in 2014 to try to provide better access for those with disabilities. Users can request UberASSIST or UberWAV. These services are not available in every market since they rely on Uber’s ability to partner with commercial providers. Uber is trying to increase accessibility by expanding the services to international markets in the U.K. Uber has even partnered with Whizz-Kidz, a charity, to provide transportation to those in wheelchairs to polling stations at no cost.

New York City has a goal to make half of their yellow taxis wheelchair-accessible by 2020.

Do you think it is fair to require Uber to make all of their drivers have wheelchair accessible vehicles? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about Uber’s legal problems, read these articles:

Photo: techtimes.com



 

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