Rideshare App Uber has agreed to settle a lawsuit raised by the Department of Justice (DOJ). The lawsuit alleged that Uber’s wait times discriminate against those who have a disability.
Uber agreed to pay in excess of $2 million to customers who have already been affected and they have also agreed to waive fees going forward, TechCrunch reports.
The DOJ have also confirmed that Uber will pay out $500,000 to other customers who were “harmed” by Uber. “People with disabilities should not be made to feel like second-class citizens or punished because of their disability, which is exactly what Uber’s wait time fee policy did,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said in a statement released after the settlement.
“This agreement sends a strong message that Uber and other ridesharing companies will be held accountable if their services discriminate against people with disabilities,” she went onto say.
Despite the settlement, Uber did release a statement to defend their policies. “It has long been our policy to refund wait time fees for riders with a disability when they alerted us that they were charged, and prior to this matter being filed we made changes so that any rider who shares that they have a disability would have wait time fees waived automatically,” said Uber Spokesperson Carissa Simons.
In 2021, Uber also paid out $1.1 million to a blind passenger who said she was refused a ride on 14 occasions.
Lisa Irving said in the lawsuit that taxi drivers became rude and aggressive when she said that they would have to transport her guide dog Bernie. Irving also said that one driver cut her ride short and incorrectly informed her she had arrived at her destination.
Irving’s spokesperson spoke out about the incident: “Of all Americans who should be liberated by the rideshare revolution, the blind and visually impaired are among those who stand to benefit the most. The bottom line is that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a guide dog should be able to go anywhere that a blind person can go.”
On this occasion, Uber also defended their policies and said they were “proud” to assist visually impaired passengers. “Drivers using the Uber app are expected to serve riders with service animals and comply with accessibility and other laws, and we regularly provide education to drivers on that responsibility.
“Our dedicated team looks into each complaint and takes appropriate action,” their statement read, per Business Insider.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
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