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Disability Rights Activists Sue Uber

Disability Rights Activists Sue UberUber faces yet another lawsuit for allegedly not providing enough wheelchair accessible vehicles to the disabled.

Disability rights activists filed the lawsuit in California’s Alameda County Superior Court last Tuesday, claiming the ride share company is violating the state’s anti-discrimination laws by not being a reliable mode of transportation for wheelchair users.

“Uber is such an important transportation option in the Bay Area,” Jessie Lorenz, executive director of the Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco and plaintiff in the lawsuit, said in a statement. “We are deeply disappointed in Uber’s continued resistance to following the laws that keep transportation services open to everyone.”

Uber doesn’t agree with the allegations in the lawsuit. The ride share company said it provides options for disabled passengers, like UberWAV, which offer vehicles with ramps and hydraulic lifts for wheelchairs.

“We take this issue seriously, and are continuously exploring ways to facilitate mobility and freedom via the Uber App for all riders, including riders who use motorized wheelchairs,” said an Uber spokesman.

The lawsuit is unique because it doesn’t demand monetary damages. The plaintiffs just want Uber to provide equal access to those with mobile disabilities.

“If Uber is going to be the transportation of the future, it needs to make wheelchair accessible Ubers part of that future,” said Melissa Riess, staff attorney at Disability Rights Advocates. “It is disgraceful that even in its hometown, Uber has ignored its obligation to make its service available to all people equally.”

Uber has faced other disability lawsuits in the past. In 2016, Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago filed a lawsuit against the company on behalf of three disabled people, who alleged the company didn’t provide vehicles equipped to handle wheelchairs.

The lawsuit claimed that Uber only provided a handful of rides to disabled passengers requiring wheelchair accessible vehicles.

“That position threatens a return to the isolation and segregation that the disability rights movement has fought to overcome,” the lawsuit said.

In 2015, the company was sued for allegedly not transporting guide dogs for blind people.

The lawsuit stated that federal law requires operators of taxi services to transport service animals for the blind, but it’s aware of more than 40 instances in which Uber drivers didn’t allow these animals in their cars.

The lawsuit also claimed that there were two instances in which Uber drivers yelled “no dogs” at riders and one in which an Uber driver refused to pull over after he had locked a blind woman’s guide dog inside his trunk.

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