US sues Uber over ‘wait time’ charges for disabled passengers
Nov 11, 2021 - 12:22 PM
WASHINGTON (AA) – The US Department of Justice sued Uber on Wednesday over “wait time” fees charged to passengers with physical disabilities.
The suit, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that Uber ran afoul of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Uber began to roll out “wait time” fees for its customers in April 2016 before expanding the policy nationwide, the Justice Department said in a statement. Fees were applied if a car waited for more than two minutes at a pickup location.
The suit says Uber violated the ADA by failing to “make reasonable modifications to its policies and practices of imposing wait time fees as applied to passengers who, because of disability, require more time to board the vehicle.”
The Justice Department is seeking to have a judge order Uber to modify its wait time fees for individuals with disabilities, train staff and drivers on the ADA, and pay damages to people with disabilities who were subjected to “illegal wait time fees.” A civil financial penalty is also being sought.
“People with disabilities deserve equal access to all areas of community life, including the private transportation services provided by companies like Uber,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
“This lawsuit seeks to bring Uber into compliance with the mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act while sending a powerful message that Uber cannot penalize passengers with disabilities simply because they need more time to get into a car. Uber and other companies that provide transportation services must ensure equal access for all people, including those with disabilities” she added.