Mon. Dec 6th, 2021

The administration of US President Joe Biden says Uber has failed to “make reasonable changes” and ensure “fair fares” for passengers with disabilities.

By Bloomberg

Uber Technologies Inc. was sued by the Biden administration for charging a “waiting time” fee to passengers with disabilities and allegedly refusing their refund requests, making them feel like “second-class” citizens.

Uber’s failure to “make reasonable changes” to its waiting time fee policy and ensure “fair fares” for passengers with disabilities who need more time to get into vehicles is discriminatory under the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the complaint that Was filed Wednesday in a San. Francisco Federal Court.

The Justice Department is asking the court to block Uber’s policies and to claim damages to compensate passengers, including for emotional distress they experienced, as well as a civil fine.

“Waiting time fees are charged from all riders to compensate drivers after two minutes of waiting, but were never intended for riders who are ready at their designated pick-up point but need more time to get in the car,” said Matt Kallman, spokesman for Uber, said. n e-mail. “We recognize that many riders with disabilities depend on Uber for their transportation needs, which is why we have been in active discussions with the DOJ on how to address any concerns or confusion before this surprising and disappointing lawsuit.”

In its complaint, the government cited the experience of two disabled passengers, including a 52-year-old quadriplegic woman who relied on Uber to travel back and forth from her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky, to a rehabilitation facility about five blocks away. The unidentified woman was told by an Uber representative that nothing could be done when she asked for a refund on waiting time fees, according to the complaint.

“Uber’s refusal to refund its money or to change its waiting time fee policy makes Passenger A feel like a second-class citizen,” the government said.

Similarly, a 34-year-old man with cerebral palsy was “angry, frustrated and upset” after seeing Uber charge him with his disability and start refusing refund requests after initially giving him some refunds, according to the complaint. .

Uber said in a statement that it had recently updated its application to automatically waive fees for any rider certifying that they are disabled.

Uber’s ride-visit business was wiped out as Covid-19 restrictions kept people at home and demand fell into crater. The co-op sector has since bounced back sharply amid improving Covid-19 conditions and rising vaccination rates. Uber reported that bookings rose 67% in the third quarter from a year earlier.

The case is United States v. Uber Technologies, Inc., 3: 21-cv-08735, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

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