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Feds File Lawsuit Against Uber Over Wait Time Fees for Disabled Passengers

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Federal prosecutors on Wednesday filed a lawsuit accusing the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company Uber of illegally charging “wait time” fees to disabled passengers who need more time than usual to enter a car.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed the suit alleging that Uber violated part of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Uber started charging the wait time fees in 2016, charging fees for the time between when a driver arrived at the pickup location and when the trip started if that period lasted more than 2 minutes. Federal prosecutors allege the company failed to reasonably modify the policy for disabled passengers who need more time to get into a vehicle.

The suit asks a federal judge to order Uber to modify its policy and train its drivers and staff on the ADA, as well as forcing the company to pay damages to people who have dealt with the wait time fees as well as paying a civil penalty.

“Uber’s wait time fees take a significant toll on people with disabilities,” Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds said in a statement. “Passengers with disabilities who need additional boarding time are entitled to access.”

Uber issued a statement calling the suit “surprising and disappointing.”

The statement said, “Wait time fees are charged to all riders to compensate drivers after two minutes of waiting, but were never intended for riders who are ready at their designated pickup location but need more time to get into the car.”

The company, famous for challenging government regulations around the country and world regarding the pickup of people by private drivers, said they had already been in discussions with federal prosecutors about the disability issue.

“It has been our policy to refund wait time fees for disabled riders whenever they alerted us that they were charged,” Uber officials said in their statement Wednesday. “After a recent change last week, now any rider who certifies they are disabled will have fees automatically waived.”

Federal prosecutors are asking anyone possibly being discriminated by Uber to call (833) 591-0425, (202) 305-6886 or to send an email to uber.fee@usdoj.gov.


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1 Comment

  1. gailstorm
    November 13, 2021 at 8:05 pm — Reply

    Why even bother. Cabs are cheaper these days.

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