Community Issues

Riders With Disabilities Sue Uber Claiming Discrimination

Suit demands changes throughout the ride-sharing company's app network.

Four people who use wheelchairs say Uber's tag line "Get There" doesn't apply to them, because they can't get rides through the ride-sharing company's app due to their disabilities.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports, they've filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Western Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh, alleging that Uber is discriminating against them because they don't have accessible vehicles on their network in the city. That, they say, is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Uber drivers use their own cars, which may not be handicap accessible.

The suit was brought by the Pittsburgh law firm Carlson Lynch and by California-based nonprofit Disability Rights Advocates. The PG says lawyers and the four plaintiffs want class-action status, but don't want money damages. They simply want a change in the company's policies and more wheelchair-accessible vehicles on their app.

Similar lawsuits have been filed against Uber in San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. Lyft has also been sued in San Francisco over the same issue. Neither company commented for the PG story.

The plaintiffs say not having wheelchair accessible vehicles available violates the ADA.

"They have a business model where they're trying to take over the delivery of transportation services and ultimately eliminate a lot of transportation options," attorney Bruce Carlson of Carlson and Lynch told the PG. "Are they going to be a responsible corporate citizen or are they going to leave an entire community behind?"

"...are they going to leave an entire community behind?" Plaintiff's lawyer Bruce Carlson

Paul O'Hanlon, chair of the Pittsburgh-Allegheny Task Force on Disabilities is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. He told the PG his able-bodied wife can get a ride in minutes using the Uber app, while he's usually left taking the bus.

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