- Need a car seat? “UberFamily” can handle that!
- Don’t have a car? Lease one from Uber!
- Need a bit more incentive to sign up to drive? Get a $1,000 signing bonus!
- Want to make more money? Drive during popular surge times!
- Need insurance? Uber has a policy for you!
- Use a wheelchair…
Uber is incredibly accommodating, except when it comes to people living with mobility disabilities.
More than 2 million people in the U.S. use a wheelchair. Just like me, people who use wheelchairs go to work, doctors’ appointments, restaurants, etc. Unlike me, people who use wheelchairs pay significantly more to use Uber and wait far longer for a ride.
In December of 2015, Uber launched its “TAXI WAV” (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle) service in D.C. with the stated intention of expanding access to wheelchair accessible vehicle transportation and improving services for individuals with disabilities in the District.
Unfortunately, this expansion of access has not happened. Last year, the Equal Rights Center (ERC) conducted an investigation comparing what happened when a customer used” UberX”, the company’s most popular application option, versus when a customer using a wheelchair used Uber’s “TAXI WAV” option. The results revealed that, wheelchair users waited, on average, eight times longer for an accessible vehicle to arrive and paid as much as twice the amount in fares.
This is discrimination, and it is both unlawful and unfair. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the DC Human Rights Act prohibit discrimination on the basis of a disability. This includes the failure to provide equitable transportation options and services. Indeed, in February of 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice weighed in on a California case, arguing that Uber is covered by the ADA.
To add insult to injury, competition from Uber is likely reducing the number of accessible taxis on the road. In jurisdictions like the District, which mandate that a certain percentage of the taxi fleet be accessible, when fleet numbers go down, so do the number of required accessible taxis. For example, in San Francisco, Uber’s home base, wheelchair accessible taxis dropped from 100 in 2013 to 64 in 2015.
Uber – You can fix this – both in D.C. and nationwide!
Just as you have taken proactive steps to find drivers and to get more of what the public wants on the road—YOU—can eliminate the discriminatory cost disparity, and YOU can use your pay and incentive structure to increase the number of wheelchair accessible vehicles on the road.