Friday, October 14th, 2016

US disability rights group sues Uber over wheelchair access

Narada Desk | October 14, 2016 1:44 pm Print
According to the lawsuit, the Uber allegedly failed to offer cabs equipped to handle wheelchairs

A Chicago-based disability rights group reportedly sued Uber on Thursday for allegedly violating wheelchair accessibility laws.

The federal lawsuit was filed in US District Court in Chicago on behalf of Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago and three individuals associated with the group, media reports revealed.

According to the lawsuit, the online transportation network allegedly failed to offer cabs equipped to handle wheelchairs. The petitioners now want the court to force Uber to provide more wheelchair-accessible vehicles under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The lawsuit claimed that the company could only provide wheelchair accessible vehicles to a handful of disabled users after it launched services in Chicago in 2011. The documents revealed that Uber provided around 2 million rides in Chicago in June last year, while the company was able to offer just 14 rides to motorized wheelchair users since 2011.

The court documents read as: “(Uber’s) service to people who require wheelchair accessible vehicles ranges from token to non-existent. That position threatens a return to the isolation and segregation that the disability rights movement has fought to overcome.”

In May, Uber launched uberWAV in Chicago to offer its riders with vehicles equipped with wheelchair ramps or lifts.

Meanwhile, a Chicago spokeswoman for Uber, Molly Spaeth, emailed a brief statement that didn’t address specific allegations in the lawsuit, agencies reported. The email said the company is committed to increase mobility and freedom for all riders and drivers, including those members of our communities who are disabled.

According to Chicago city ordinance, Taxi operators in the city with more than 20 cabs must maintain at least 5 percent as accessible vehicles, media reports stated. In addition, the city also offers financial supports for wheelchair accessible taxis.