After the City of San Francisco requested records about driver safety, disability access, and other operations, via a subpoena, Uber objected and refused to cooperate. San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera summarized Uber’s approach: “Unfortunately, Uber is doing what it always seems to do: raise obstacles and drag its feet— all while continuing to flout the law.”
In an interaction captured in video by a passenger, a Leeds, UK Uber driver decline refused to transport a passenger in a wheelchair. The passenger reported that the driver said “Disabled people need disabled car[s]” and drove off.
An October 2016 complaint, filed by the nonprofit Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago, criticized Uber’s shortage of wheelchair-accessible vehicles, alleging that the few accessible vehicles were rarely available, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
A July 2017 complaint, filed by the nonprofit legal group Disability Rights Advocates in New York, criticized Uber’s failure to include wheelchair-accessible vehicles in its standard UberX fleet, claiming that 99.9% of Uber’s vehicles were inaccessible to people with mobility disabilities, in violation of New York’s anti-discrimination laws.
The lawsuit alleged that Uber riders who need wheelchair-accessible vehicles face significantly longer wait times than other passengers, and that at some periods and in some places, no wheelchair-accessible vehicles are available at all.
The lawsuit further alleged that passengers attempting to use Uber’s accessible service face extended wait times, or are denied access to
the service altogether, which the plaintiffs said reveals that the accessible service was “window-dressing designed to avoid government regulation and legal requirements” and insufficient under law.
A June 2017 complaint, filed by the Equal Rights Center in federal court in Washington DC, criticized Uber’s failure to include wheelchair-accessible vehicles in its standard UberX fleet, alleging that this violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. The complaint criticized Uber Access, Uber’s wheelchair-capable service, as limited to a subset of markets as well as offering inferior service with approximately double the wait time and approximately double the fare. The complaint alleged that not one vehicle in Uber’s 30,000-vehicle fleet in Washington DC is capable of transporting a passenger who uses a non-folding wheelchair.
Multiple blind passengers reported Uber drivers refusing to transport them and their service dogs.
A key lawsuit challenging Uber’s treatment of blind passengers was National Federation of the Blind of California, et a., v. Uber Technologies, Inc.: Second Amended Complaint. Decision denying Uber’s motion to dismiss (including finding that Uber may be liable under the public accommodation provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act). Settlement agreement. Other case documents.