The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a lawsuit against Uber alleging that the company has overcharged passengers with disabilities. Uber Technologies charges “wait time” fees if drivers must wait more than two minutes, resulting in fees for passengers who need more time to enter the car owing to their disability.
As per the lawsuit, Uber began charging passengers “wait time” fees in a number of cities in April 2016. The policy was eventually implemented countrywide.
The case was filed in the US District Court in San Francisco, and it asks the court to require Uber to change its wait time fee policy and pay monetary damages for any illegal fees that have been levied thus far.
According to the DOJ, Uber’s wait time policy violates the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), as blind individuals, wheelchair users, and those with walkers require more than two minutes to get into a car. In a statement, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, said “[p]eople with disabilities deserve equal access to all areas of community life, including the private transportation services provided by companies like Uber.”
The lawsuit attempts to bring Uber into conformity with the ADA mandate while also sending a strong message that Uber cannot penalize disabled passengers merely because they take longer to get into a car. The department also ordered Uber and other similar companies to ensure that all persons, “including those with disabilities,” have equitable access to their services.