Wheelchair users sue car services Uber and Lyft over lack of access

Three residents of Texas have filed a lawsuit that claims popular car services Uber and Lyft are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by denying service to mobility impaired passengers.

In a complaint filed Monday in San Antonio, military veteran Dan Ramos and two Houston women, Laura Posadas and Tina Williams, ask a federal court to suspend the companies’ operations until they provide wheelchair access.

The complaint notes that the trio rely on wheelchairs, and points to anti-discrimination provisions in the ADA and in a Department of Transportation regulation that covers taxi services. It claims:

Uber and Lyft allow their vehicles-for-hire to deny service to the disabled. In addition, Uber and Lyft provide no training or guidance to the vehicles-for-hire that use their service concerning lawfully meeting the needs of disabled consumers.

In response to a request for comment, Lyft suggested by email that the service does assist mobility impaired individuals.

“Lyft aims to accommodate anyone in the community who needs a ride, and many disabled individuals, who were previously underserved by existing transportation options, now actively use and rely on Lyft as a reliable, safe and affordable way to get around,” a Lyft spokesperson wrote.

An Uber spokesperson likewise suggested that its service may help those lacking mobility to get around:

“Our technology has increased the mobility and freedom of Uber riders and driver partners with disabilities.  Uber provides best-in-class request options for disabled riders and is a leader in harnessing technology to increase mobility.”

Uber and Lyft operate in a growing number of cities, and have experienced numerous legal clashes with regulators and the taxi industry as they have expanded.

The complaint does not state if all or just part of the Lyft and Uber fleets must become ADA compliant. According to a 2012 New York Times report, an appeals court dismissed an ADA-related class action over New York’s failure to make more cabs wheelchair-accessible; at the time, around 230 of New York’s yellow cabs could accommodate wheelchair passengers.

Updated with Lyft comment at 6:10pm ET, and Uber comment on Wednesday

Here’s the 6-page complaint, which was spotted by Courthouse News:

ADA Complaint Against Uber

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