Ride-sharing giant Uber has been officially called to task for failing to accommodate disabled passengers across the country. In a number of separate lawsuits, plaintiffs claim that Uber drivers violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when they either flat out refused to transport them, or failed to stow their wheelchairs in ample sized trunks. In one case a defendant was even left without transportation, when a driver refused him service and then informed him that he could not order accessible transportation through the Uber app.
Uber argues that they are a technology company and not a transportation provider, and as such they are exempt from the ADA. They also claim that since their drivers are independent contractors, Uber is not responsible for their actions. Disability rights advocates are quick to point out that Uber and other transportation network companies are abusing a gray area of the law. The Department of Justice supports the plaintiffs and has urged the courts to hear the cases, so case law will be on the books. Lyft — another ride-sharing company — has also received similar complaints from disabled passengers.