[nagdu] Washington Post: Uber sued for allegedly refusing rides to the blind and putting a dog in the trunk

Marion Gwizdala blind411 at verizon.net
Wed Sep 10 23:40:20 UTC 2014

Dear All,


                Please circulate the following information as widely as


Fraternally yours,


Marion Gwizdala, President

National Association of Guide Dog Users Inc.

National Federation of the Blind

(813) 626-2789

(888) 624-3841 (Hotline)

 <mailto:President at nagdu.org> President at nagdu.org

 <http://www.nagdu.org> http://www.nagdu.org


High expectations create unlimited potential for the blind!





Uber sued for allegedly refusing rides to the blind and putting a dog in the

By  <http://www.washingtonpost.com/people/gail-sullivan> Gail Sullivan
September 10 at 5:06 AM

An advocacy group for the blind is suing the app-based ride-sharing service
Uber, alleging the company discriminates against passengers with service

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
gainst-blind-passengers-with-service-dogs/Content?oid=2895322> 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
<https://adata.org/publication/disability-law-handbook#Transportation and
the ADA> required by federal law to serve the disabled, even if drivers are
independent contractors.


More information about the NAGDU mailing list