Uber, a ride-hailing service that uses the US Justice Department to assist disabled individuals is under investigation by the DoJ.
Uber’s wait time fees, according to the DoJ, are unfairly applied against people with disabilities who require more than 2 minutes to enter a vehicle.
Uber must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to it.
Uber stated that the wait time fees did not apply to riders with disabilities and that they were refunding.
Kristen Clarke (assistance attorney general in the DoJ’s civil rights section), stated that she was trying to send the message that Uber is not able to penalize passengers with disabilities because they take longer to get in a car.
She said that Uber and all other transportation companies “must guarantee equal access for everyone, even those with disabilities.”
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Uber however stated that it did not agree with the ADA’s interpretation of its policies.
Spokesman for the company said that they had held talks with DoJ about the lawsuit before it became “surprisingly and disappointing”.
Waiting fees weren’t intended for riders that are available at their pickup point but take longer to get in the car, he stated.
Uber’s policy was to refund wait-time fees for disabled drivers if the rider reported the company that the charges had been made, according to a spokesperson.
He said that fees will be waived for riders who have certified their disability following a change made last week.
Uber introduced driver wait times charging in 2016 and Uber now charges passengers.
The firm says riders are charged on average less than 60 cents, and that wheelchair-accessible trips or Uber Assist trips do not have any wait time fees by default.
This isn’t the first time Uber has been in trouble over disabilities.
After she refused to be taken on fourteen occasions, Uber was forced in April to pay $1.1 million for a San Francisco blind lady. Paralympic silver medallist Jack Hunter Spivey stated in September that Uber drivers and others drove off whenever he used a wheelchair.
According to a University of Tennessee 2020 study, it took 28% longer for disabled people in the US the same level of living standards as non-disabled persons.
Maria Town is the president and chief executive of American Association of People with Disabilities. She told BBC that many disabled people face a “disproportionate Economic burden” often because of reality they can’t change or control.
She said that in addition to the higher cost of health care and medical supplies, there is an added “tax” on disabled consumers by charging extra for certain services such as rideshare wait time or grocery delivery.
Ms Town stated that the end of the wait-time fee for riders who are disabled would represent a “step forward in the right direction towards economic equality, dignity and dignity.”
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