Not So Equal Access to Transportation
Transportation Network Companies like Uber and Lyft have built into their very business model the automatic exclusion of certain people: Only those with smartphones and credit cards are able to access these transportation services.
In addition, they don't follow the same rules around access that other transportation providers do—for example, it's possible for customers to be refused service and not picked up by these companies, something that generally isn't allowed for taxi operators.
But that's not all. These companies have now begun facing complaints, investigations, and lawsuits from all over the country regarding disabled riders' equitable access to rides:
- Disabled riders report that Uber doesn't seem to be training drivers to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act
- The National Federation for the Blind has filed a federal lawsuit accusing Uber of refusing service to blind riders with service animals
- Uber has faced multimillion-dollar fines in California for refusing to turn over accessibility data to regulators
- The Massachusetts attorney general has begun looking into questions of equal access to services like Uber & Lyft by people with disabilities
Innovation and technology are great, but we absolutely expect these companies to follow the law and our city's values when it comes to equality and nondiscrimination.