Have you heard of Uber and Lyft? They are the two largest ride hailing companies in the entire nation. They provide apps that allow people to hail a ride through their smartphone. When you use the app, one of these companies’ drivers will swing by, pick you up and take you wherever you want to go. But there’s a problem with these services, they aren’t well equipped to handle people with disabilities.
Just How Disability Friendly Are Ridesharing Apps?
On October 13th, a disability rights group in Chicago filed a federal lawsuit against Uber Technologies. The group says that Uber violated wheelchair accessibility laws set out in the Americans with Disabilities Act. They claim the ridesharing giant is setting disability rights back and they want the company brought into compliance immediately.
According to the law, any taxi company in Chicago that has over 20 cabs must maintain a number of handicap accessible vehicles equal to 5 percent of their fleet. Right now, Uber is nowhere near that margin. Between April and June of 2015, Uber provided almost 5.5 million rides. However, from September 2011 to August 2015 Uber only provided 14 rides to people in motorized wheelchairs.
Uber blames its lack of coverage for people with disabilities on its lack of drivers with wheelchair accessible vehicles. However, the company has made efforts with its uberWAVE app—which connects riders to wheelchair accessible transport services—but these efforts have been ineffective. Plus, the company’s efforts haven’t added the necessary 5 percent to its fleet of drivers.
Do you think Uber should be forced to maintain a small number of wheelchair accessible vehicles? How do you think ridesharing services could help some accessibility and transportation issues for people with disabilities? Visit our Facebook and Twitter walls to let us know what you think. You can also get updates from our Tulsa disability attorneys by following our blog.