Nonprofit organization Disability Rights Advocates has filed a class-action lawsuit against Uber, claiming that the ride service discriminates against riders with disabilities in New York City. Filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Tuesday, July 18th, the suit is founded on the accusation that Uber does not supply enough available wheelchair-accessible cars through its app.
According to the New York Times, the lawsuit alleges that though Uber provides wheelchair-accessible cars through its related service UberWAV, the specially equipped vehicles “account for a tiny fraction of the 58,000 for-hire cars dispatched by Uber in New York City’s five boroughs” and that “this already limited pool of cars can be used for other riders, and… may be unavailable when needed by those with disabilities.”
Filed on behalf of numerous advocacy organizations and individual New Yorkers, the lawsuit comes after two discrimination lawsuits against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority regarding the subway system’s dearth of elevators and lifts. The suit requests that the court order Uber to “develop and implement a remedial plan to ensure full and equal access to its services for riders who require accessible transportation.”
For its part, Uber has in the past offered monetary incentives to drivers of wheelchair-accessible cars. It has also suggested that New York City law implement an “accessibility fee” on certain types of rides across companies to raise funds for further monetary incentives. The case raises notable questions regarding civil and corporate duties to persons with disabilities.