The Brooklyn Center for Independence for the Disabled, along with other disability rights groups, is suing Uber, alleging Uber is in violation of New York City human rights laws because it doesn’t have enough wheelchair-accessible cars available to people who need them, Reuters reports.
The class-action lawsuit, which also includes Disabled in Action of Metropolitan New York and the Taxis for All Campaign as plaintiffs, alleges Uber is engaging in “pervasive and ongoing discrimination” because there are only 200 or so of Uber’s 58,000+ vehicles made available to people who use wheelchairs.
In the last few months, Uber has also been sued by people who use wheelchairs in Jackson, Mississippi and The Equal Rights Center in Washington, D.C. Last year, a disability rights group in Chicago sued Uber for similar reasons.
Uber does offer services for people with disabilities, but the issue is that there are simply not enough vehicles equipped to provide equal access to people with physical disabilities.
Uber first launched a service geared toward people with disabilities in 2014, with the launch of Uber Access. Through Uber Access, passengers can request UberASSIST and UberWAV, which means a wheelchair-accessible car would pick them up. It’s worth noting that Uber Access is not available in all of Uber’s markets, and the availability of Uber Access seems to be dependent upon Uber’s ability to partner with commercial providers.
Over in the U.K., Uber has been expanding its accessibility services. This year, Uber has extended its Access service to seven additional markets in the U.K., including Liverpool, Leeds, Wolverhampton, Bradford and others. Last month, Uber teamed up with disability charity Whizz-Kidz to offer people who use wheelchairs free rides to polling stations.
The plaintiffs in this New York case ultimately want Uber to put in place a plan that ensures people with disabilities have “full and equal access” to its services.
“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,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch. “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.”