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Uber sued by US Justice Department for ripping off disabled riders

According to the DoJ, Uber's "wait time" fees discriminate against disabled passengers

Uber | United States | Uber CEO


As much as 60 per cent of millennials are interested to work as gig workers. (Photo: Bloomberg)
Uber said wait-time fees were not intended to apply to disabled riders and that it had been refunding such fees

Ride-hailing app is facing a lawsuit from the US Department of Justice (DoJ) on allegations of overcharging people with disabilities.

According to the DoJ, Uber’s “wait time” fees discriminate against disabled passengers, who need more than two minutes to get into a car. The DoJ says is in non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Uber, however, said it disagreed with the allegations. It said wait-time fees were not intended to apply to disabled riders and that it had been refunding such fees when they were brought to its notice.

Kristen Clarke, assistance attorney general for the DoJ’s civil rights division, said the lawsuit aimed to send a “powerful message that cannot penalise passengers with disabilities simply because they need more time to get into a car”.

Such “must ensure equal access for all people, including those with disabilities,” she added.

A spokesperson for Uber said it had been in talks with the DoJ before the “surprising and disappointing” lawsuit. Wait-time fees were “never intended for riders who are ready at their designated pickup location but need more time to get into the car”, the person said.

Raises London base fares by 10% to attract more drivers

The company is raising its base fares in London by 10 per cent to attract more drivers to the platform. Customers had complained on social media in recent months of longer waiting times, cancellations and higher fares during peak hours as workers avoided public transit during the pandemic.

Uber needs about 20,000 more drivers to help return service to normal after demand rose 20 per cent following the end of lockdown.

“We’re making these changes to help provide a better rider experience, by signing up more drivers to meet the growing demand,” a spokesman said by email.

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First Published: Fri, November 12 2021. 01:35 IST