The Department of Justice sued Uber on Wednesday alleging it was charging disabled passengers who needed extra time to ride the car for an extra "waiting period".
Uber began violating the American Disability Act in 2016 when it began charging these fees in targeted markets, the Department of Justice said in a statement. Those fees are now being levied nationwide, he said.
"Uber's waiting fees have a significant impact on people with disabilities," said the U.S. Attorney General. Stephanie M. Hinds of Northern California.
Blind or wheelchair users or wheelchair users who need to be folded and placed away need extra time to get into cars, but Uber still beats them to earn extra money even if they “know that the need for extra time is obvious. based on disability, ”according to a statement from the Department of Justice.
"Disabled passengers who need extra time on board have the right to access motorized transport services without discrimination," Hinds said. "This case aims to help people with disabilities to live their lives independently and with dignity, as the ADA confirms."
The Department of Justice is demanding unconditional compensation for people "below the cost of illegal waiting time" and is asking the court to order Uber "to change its waiting policy to comply with the ADA" and to re-train its drivers.
In response, Uber said in a statement, "We do not basically agree that our policies violate the ADA."
The company said it was already in talks with the Department of Justice about how to remedy the financial situation of waiting "before this shocking and disappointing case" was filed in the northern California region.
"Waiting costs are charged to all passengers to compensate the drivers after two minutes of waiting, but it was not intended for passengers who are ready for the designated area but who need more time to get into the vehicle," the statement said. that many disabled passengers rely on Uber for their travel needs. "
Waiting fees start to accumulate two minutes after the Uber ride arrives at the pick-up point and the meter continues to operate until the vehicle departs, the Justice Department said.
Uber agreed but said "the average waiting time for passengers is less than 60 cents."
Also, there is no waiting period for passengers requesting wheelchair access, or WAV, or using Uber Assist, the company said.
"It has been our policy to reimburse for waiting time for disabled passengers whenever they report us being charged," he said. "After the latest change last week, now any passenger confirming that he or she is disabled will automatically have their payments deducted."