The Washington Post

Uber will compensate disabled passengers

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Uber Technologi­es will pay millions of dollars to settle claims by the Department of Justice that the ride-hailing giant discrimina­tes against disabled passengers who need additional time to get into a car.

Uber will compensate more than 65,000 passengers who were levied a “wait-time” fee for taking too long to board a vehicle, the DOJ said in a statement. Accounts of eligible riders who signed up for the waiver program will be credited double the amount of wait-time fees they were charged, which could amount to hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in compensati­on, the DOJ estimates.

The San Francisco-based company will also pay $1,738,500 to more than 1,000 riders who complained to Uber about being charged wait-time fees because of disability, and $500,000 to other affected passengers.

In November, the DOJ sued Uber, saying its failure to “make reasonable modificati­ons” to its wait-time policy and ensure “equitable fares” for passengers with disabiliti­es who need additional time to board a car is discrimina­tory under the Americans With Disabiliti­es Act. The complaint was filed in a San Francisco federal court.

Under the two-year agreement, Uber will waive wait-time fees for all Uber riders who certify that they, or someone they frequently travel with, need more time to get in an Uber vehicle because of a disability. Uber also will ensure that refunds are easily available for anyone who does not have a waiver and is charged a wait-time fee because of disability.

“We’re pleased to have reached this agreement with the Department of Justice, and look forward to continuing to help everyone move easily around their communitie­s,” an Uber spokesman said in a statement.

The extra wait fees are charged to riders who take more than two minutes to board an Uberx ride and more than five minutes for Uber Black or SUV trips. Uber said the fees compensate drivers for their time, adding that the average fee charged to riders in 2020 was less than 60 cents.

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