The U.S. Department of Justice did In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for Northern California alleging discrimination against disabled passengers, the agency claims that Uber violated Title III. (ADA) implements a policy that observes that the company charges a “waiting time” fee from passengers who, as a result of their disability, need more time to enter a vehicle. The law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities by private companies.
According to the Justice Department, the policy has been in force since 2016 when Uber applied it to several cities in the United States before expanding its use nationwide. Any time a passenger takes more than two minutes to enter an UberX car or more than five minutes for an Uber Black or SUV car, the company charges a waiting time fee for that person. Uber claims that most users pay less than $ 0.60 on average when it happens. However, disabled passengers, including wheelchairs and walkers, often take longer to get in than to leave.
“People with disabilities have equal access to all areas of community life, including personal transport services provided by companies like Uber,” said Kristen Clark, assistant attorney general for DOJ’s civil rights department.
A spokesman for Uber called the case “surprising” and “disappointing.” Read the full statement:
Wait time fees are charged to all riders for compensating drivers after a two minute wait, but never intended for riders who are ready in their designated pickup position but need more time to get in the car. We acknowledge that many disabled riders rely on Uber for their transportation needs, so we have actively discussed with the DOJ how to resolve any concerns or confusions prior to this surprising and frustrating case.
It is our policy to refund the waiting time for disabled riders whenever they warn us that they have been charged. Following a recent change last week, any rider who certifies they are disabled will now have their fee automatically waived. We do not fundamentally agree that our policies violate the ADA and will continue to improve our products to support the ability of everyone to move easily around their community.
The company also points out that it does not charge a waiting time fee when someone requests a wheelchair accessible. This is not the first time Uber has been sued for infringing ADA Title III. In 2017, a disabled lawyer in New York City Against the company. At the time, the group said Uber was not accessible to 99.9 percent of people with mobility disabilities.
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