Disabled passengers who hail an Uber ride allegedly often face long waits and are sometimes even denied service, according to a new lawsuit.
A nonprofit disability rights organization filed a class-action lawsuit against Uber, claiming the ride-hailing service discriminates against New York City riders with disabilities by not providing enough access to vehicles that can accommodate wheelchairs.
"Having grown rapidly since it began operating in New York in 2011, Uber provides hundreds of thousands of rides a day in New York City, but for riders who need wheelchair-accessible vehicles, it provides vastly inferior service, or in many cases, no service at all," according to the lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Tuesday by Disability Rights Advocates.
The lawsuit said that although Uber offers wheelchair-accessible vehicles through its UberWAV service, they account for fewer than 100 of the 58,000 Uber vehicles dispatched in the city. It said the special vehicles can be used by other riders and may be unavailable for use by disabled riders, who "face extended wait times, or are still denied access to the service altogether."
The lawsuit wants Uber to "develop and implement a remedial plan to ensure full and equal access to its services for riders who require accessible transportation."
Uber said it has nearly 200 wheelchair-accessible vehicles currently on the road in the city.
"Uber's technology has expanded access to reliable transportation options for all riders, including those with disabilities and has enabled people with disabilities to earn income in new ways," said Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang.
"While there is certainly more work to be done, we will continue advocating for a solution that offers affordable, reliable transportation to those who need a wheelchair accessible vehicle," Anfang said.