Uber doesn’t need to offer wheelchair-accessible vehicles in all cites, judge rules

A federal court has ruled that Uber does not have to offer wheelchair-accessible service in every US market. abc news has called. The company’s decision to only offer such a service in certain cities does not violate federal law and would be unduly burdensome, said Chief Justice Richard Seeborg of the San Francisco federal court.

Two motorized wheelchair users in New Orleans and Jackson, Mississippi, are suing Uber over the lack of accessible services in those cities. Since Uber couldn’t accommodate non-folding wheelchairs, they claimed that doing so violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits companies from discriminating against people based on their disabilities. They further argued that Uber has a “deep-rooted accessibility issue” and treated it as an “afterthought.” The trial of the case lasted almost five years.

Uber said in its defense that if it had to contract with wheelchair-accessible vehicle providers, it would be too expensive to offer wheelchair service in every city. Judge Seeborg agreed, saying the plaintiffs had provided “little evidence” that Uber could do it cost-effectively and that if it did, the wait times would still be “significant”. “The expected costs here are too high for the limited service that would result, making the proposed change inappropriate,” he said.

The judge dismissed Uber’s argument that it doesn’t need to offer wheelchair-accessible services everywhere because it has done so in some cities, noting that ADA reviews each change for appropriateness.

Uber picks up wheelchair users in other cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston. New Orleans considered hiring the service, but Uber lobbied against those efforts, according to court documents. “We welcome the outcome and are proud of our efforts to improve accessibility for all users, including via Uber WAV,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement.

Lead plaintiff Scott Crawford noted that the decision was made on the eve of the anniversary of the ADA’s effective date and challenged the verdict. “Uber has made no serious attempt to provide an accessible service, instead claiming it is too onerous,” he said. “This could have been solved economically years ago.”

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https://www.engadget.com/judge-says-uber-doesnt-need-to-provide-wheelchair-accessible-vehicles-101513774.html?src=rss Uber doesn’t need to offer wheelchair-accessible vehicles in all cites, judge rules

Russell Falcon

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