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Uber Settles Riders' Disability Claims

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit last year accusing the ride-hailing company of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In 2016, Uber implemented a new fee on riders who took longer than two minutes to get in their ride after it arrived. The DOJ said Uber charged these wait fees to disabled passengers who needed extra time to get into the cars.

According to the DOJ, Uber charged slow-moving passengers impacted by their use of walkers and wheelchairs or sight impairments the same fees. The DOJ asserted, "People with disabilities deserve equal access to all areas of community life including the private transportation services provided by companies like Uber."

Under the settlement, Uber has agreed to waive wait time fees for riders who certify that they have a disability and offer refunds to disabled passengers charged for taking too long to enter their cars. In addition, Uber will pay $1.7 million to the 1,000 disabled riders who complained about the wait-time fees and $500,000 to "other harmed individuals," according to the DOJ. The 65,000 riders who signed up for the waiver program will receive an amount equal to twice the wait time fees Uber charged them.

Uber denied the DOJ's claims, asserting it did not intend the wait time fees for riders “who are ready at their designated pickup location but need more time to get into the car.” The company claimed its wait fees for riders in 2020 averaged only about 60 cents. It also said it was working to improve accessibility for disabled drivers. Uber said it had already been providing refunds to disabled riders who let the company know it had charged them wait fees.