Equal Rights Center sues Uber for denying equal access to people who use wheelchairs

The Equal Rights Center is suing Uber for denying equal access to its services for people with physical disabilities. According to the lawsuit, the ERC alleges that Uber has chosen not to include wheelchair-accessible vehicles as an option in its standard UberX fleet of vehicles, and omits people who use wheelchairs in Washington , D.C. The ERCs lawsuit alleges that Uber is in violation of Title 3 of the Americans with Disability Act and the D.C. Human Right Act.

Uber first launched a service geared toward people with disabilities in 2014, with the launch of Uber Access. Through Uber Access, passengers can request UberASSIST and UberWAV, which means a wheelchair accessible auto would pick them up. Its worth noting that Uber Access is not available in all of Ubers markets, and the fact that there are Uber Access seems to be dependent upon Ubers ability to partner with commercial providers.

After conducting its own investigation of Ubers services for people in wheelchairs, the ERC found that passengers had to wait an average of eight hours longer for an accessible car to arrive. They also had to pay twice as much in fares, according to the ERCs study.

The restriction services that are Uber does provide in D.C. for wheelchair usersoffering a connection to the limited number of wheelchair-accessible taxis on the roaddoes not provide anything resembling the same services that are Uber provides to those who do not use wheelchairs, the lawsuit states.

Ultimately, the ERC wants Uber to integrate wheelchair accessible cars into its UberX fleet so that people who use wheelchairs dont have to wait longer and pay more to use the car service.

Uber is not exempt from anti-discrimination statutes. It has a legal obligation to ensure that individuals with physical disabilities can access its transportation services without excessive costs and wait times, ERC Executive Director Melvina Ford said in a statement. This is a problem we are aware Uber can fix.

Update 1:20 pm PT from an Uber representative : We take this issue severely andare 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.

In May, two people who use wheelchairs sued Uberbecause the company doesnt enable them to requestcars that are accessible to people with wheelchairs in Jackson, Mississippi.

At the time, an Uber spokesperson said the company takes this issue seriously and is committed to increasing mobility and liberty for all riders and drivers, which of course includes members of our communities with disabilities.

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