[blindlaw] Uber sued for allegedly refusing rides to the blind and putting a dog in the trunk, The Washington Post, September 10 2014

wmodnl wmodnl wmodnl at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 19 04:34:54 UTC 2014

I have had nothing but positive experiences with Uber, even though,  all drivers are independent contracters, etc.
For example, I was traveling with another individual. We informed them that one of us had a guide dog. The driver contacted us, telling us that they were sorry that they had a small car, one that would not probably accommodate us. Rashod, the driver came to us, and waited until a SUV came that could accommodate us. We later found out that, he gave our driver something for going out of their way. We were not charged. Uber also gave us another $30 off our next ride due to the "disruption" that was not really a disruption.
I think that, this is one of those cases ware, one bad apple has ruined it for others.
Another time, I contacted my driver before getting me. I told them that, I had a lot of items and was blind. I received great customer service; and, that, the driver asked me why I did not have my dog, as if they were expecting it. They informed me that, they receive special training to properly service and handle people with disabilities regardless of the fact that they are independent contractors.  They understand and agree, prior to picking-up passengers that, as drivers of the service, they will encounter various individuals including those with various conditions. As a result, they must treat them as they would want to be treated.  Some mock examples are shown through live and taped demonstrations.
For example, they go through a situation ware someone has a small medical problem. Additionally, they discuss briefly how people with varying conditions travel in communities, including discussing various tools and devices that maybe used. They suggest that, if they are picking-up these individuals that, the driver should offer to exet the vehicle and open the door at their destination.  The suit, and/or possible discrimination claims are crap! Hope this helps some of you. Have a good evening.

Sent from my iPad

> On Sep 12, 2014, at 6:57 PM, "Tim Elder via blindlaw" <blindlaw at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> Our legal team is currently collecting additional stories of passengers with
> service animals who experienced discrimination by Uber drivers.  We are
> documenting incidents both in and out of California.  Don't hesitate to
> contact me if you would like to report an incident or share your experiences
> with Uber and a service animal.
> Regards,
> Tim Elder
> www.Trelegal.com
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Nightingale, Noel [mailto:Noel.Nightingale at ed.gov] 
> Sent: Thursday, September 11, 2014 2:59 PM
> To: nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org; blindlaw at nfbnet.org
> Subject: [blindlaw] Uber sued for allegedly refusing rides to the blind and
> putting a dog in the trunk, The Washington Post, September 10 2014
> Link:
> http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/09/10/uber-sued-for-a
> llegedly-refusing-rides-to-the-blind-and-putting-a-dog-in-the-trunk/
> Text:
> Uber sued for allegedly refusing rides to the blind and putting a dog in the
> trunk By Gail Sullivan September 10
> An advocacy group for the blind is suing the app-based ride-sharing service
> Uber, alleging the company discriminates against passengers with service
> dogs.
> The federal civil rights suit filed Tuesday by the California chapter of the
> National Federation of the Blind cites instances in California and elsewhere
> when blind Uber customers summoned a car only to be refused a ride once the
> driver saw them with a service dog. In some cases, drivers allegedly
> abandoned blind travelers in extreme weather and charged cancellation fees
> after denying them rides, the complaint said.
> The complaint filed in a Northern California District Court cites one
> instance where a California UberX driver put a service dog in the trunk and
> refused to pull over when the blind passenger realized where the animal was.
> On another occasion a passenger was trying to explain that his dog was not a
> pet but a service animal when the driver allegedly cursed at him and
> accelerated abruptly, nearly injuring the dog and striking the passenger's
> friend, who is also blind, with an open car door.
> The group said it's aware of more than 30 times blind customers were denied
> rides in violation of the American with Disabilities Act and California
> state law.
> As a result, blind passengers are confronting unexpected delays and "face
> the degrading experience of being denied a basic service that is available
> to all other paying customers," the complaint said.
> Services such as Uber are quickly supplanting traditional taxis, a service
> blind people rely on due to the limitations of public transportation.
> The National Federation of the Blind wants Uber to educate its drivers about
> disability rights and punish the violators in addition to providing a way
> for disabled passengers to immediately register complaints when they are
> refused rides because of service dogs.
> In a statement reported by the San Francisco Examiner, Uber said its policy
> is to terminate drivers who refuse to transport service animals. "The Uber
> app is built to expand access to transportation options for all, including
> users with visual impairments and other disabilities," the statement said.
> However, Uber allegedly told some passengers it can't control what drivers
> do because they are independent contractors. The company advised them to let
> drivers know about their animals ahead of time, said the Federation, which
> filed suit after Uber rejected its request to negotiate a solution.
> The group claims the company closely monitors and controls its drivers by
> managing payments and services through the app, and by assessing driver
> performance based on customer feedback.
> In September 2013,California's Public Utilities Commission classified UberX
> as a transportation provider because it functions like a taxi dispatch. The
> commission also said that UberX may not discriminate against the disabled,
> the Federation noted.
> Figuring out whether to treat Uber like a traditional taxi service or
> something else is the subject of heated debate across the country. Taxi
> services are required by federal law to serve the disabled, even if drivers
> are independent contractors.
> Gail Sullivan covers business for the Morning Mix blog.
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