Uber sued for bar­ring wheel­chair users

The Washington Post Sunday - - COMMUTER - — Faiz Sid­diqui

Uber has failed to ac­com­mo­date cus­tomers in wheel­chairs, with poli­cies that in­hibit ac­cess for wheel­chair users or pro­vide them with wa­tered-down op­tions, de­priv­ing them of the abil­ity to use the door-to-door UberX ser­vice, a law­suit filed in fed­eral court in the Dis­trict al­leges.

Civil rights ac­tivists and ad­vo­cates for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties say the com­pany is vi­o­lat­ing the 1990 Amer­i­cans With Dis­abil­i­ties Act and the Dis­trict of Columbia’s Hu­man Rights Act, which pro­hibit dis­crim­i­na­tion in public ac­com­mo­da­tions against peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties and other pro­tected classes. Uber his­tor­i­cally has ar­gued it is a tech­nol­ogy com­pany that is not sub­ject to the ADA.

Be­cause of Uber’s re­stric­tions on ve­hi­cle types, the suit al­leges, not one of the 30,000 Uber ve­hi­cles that roam the Wash­ing­ton re­gion is equipped to give rides to wheel­chair users whose mo­bil­ity de­vices aren’t col­lapsi­ble for stor­age in a trunk.

Cus­tomers in wheel­chairs, who num­ber in the thou­sands in the Dis­trict, have in­stead been di­rected to costlier and less-con­ve­nient taxis through the ride-hail­ing app, the suit says.

Uber did not com­ment on the law­suit, but the com­pany is­sued a state­ment af­firm­ing its com­mit­ment to ac­ces­si­bil­ity.

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