Getting rid of CEO Travis Kalanick has apparently not magically resolved all of ride-hailing giant Uber’s many, many problems, with the company now facing a lawsuit in New York over its near-total lack of cars accessible to people with wheelchairs.
Disability Rights Advocates filed a lawsuit in the State Supreme Court on Tuesday on behalf of a coalition of activists, the New York Times reported, claiming just 100 of Uber’s 58,000 cars within city limits are equipped to handle customers who use wheelchairs. In a complaint also posted to DRA’s web site, the plaintiffs wrote “Uber has demonstrated a total disregard for the needs of people with disabilities in the provision of its transportation services and the anti-discrimination laws of New York City.”
DRA noted that 100 wheelchair-accessible vehicles means over 99.9 percent of Uber’s NYC fleet is inaccessible to many passengers with disabilities. It said passengers trying to hail a car with Uber’s pilot program for wheelchair-accessible vehicles, UberWAV, “face extended wait times, or are still denied access to the service altogether, demonstrating that the new service is nothing more than window-dressing, designed to avoid government regulation and legal requirements.”
For its part, Uber told the Times its UberWAV program has expanded to nearly 200 cars (in a city of over 8.5 million people), as well as offered financial “incentives” to sign up drivers with wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
In 2013, NYC settled a major class-action lawsuit by agreeing to require half of the city’s yellow-cab taxis to be wheelchair accessible.
DRA previously filed lawsuits alleging the MTA, which manages the city’s subway systems, systematically discriminated against passengers with disabilities by installing elevators in roughly 100 of 472 stations.