On October 13, 2016, Access Living became the latest disability rights group to initiate court proceedings against Uber. According to the lawsuit, Access Living claims that Uber is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for their failure to provide adequate accessible services to wheelchair-users in Chicago.
Although the ride-hailing giant touts its UberWAV service, which allows users to request wheelchair-accessible vehicles at the touch of a button; Access Living claims that there are not enough wheelchair-accessible vehicles to meet the demand. According to court documents, between September 2011 and August 2015, Uber provided just 14 rides (out of a total of 1.9 million rides) to Chicago customers who require accessible vehicles.
Uber has long held that they are a technology company and not a transportation provider, and as such they are exempt from the ADA. This lawsuit seeks to settle that question, and to ultimately provide equivalent transportation services for wheelchair-users in Chicago.
The suit was filed after advocacy efforts by Access Living failed, and a local ordinance that would require equivalent access was defeated.
According to a statement released by Uber, “We take this issue seriously and are committed to increasing mobility and freedom for all riders and drivers, including those members of our communities who are disabled.”
Similiar caomplaints against Uber have also been filed in New York, California, Texas and Arizona.