More Legal Problems for Uber and Lyft
SAN ANTONIO (CN) - In another court challenge to Uber and Lyft, disabled people claim that the vehicle-for-hire services do not provide wheelchair-accessible vehicles for disabled riders.
Cab drivers in Chicago, Hartford, San Antonio and Houston already have sued Uber and Lyft, claiming they operate illegally as illegal taxi companies.
On Monday, lead plaintiff Dan J. Ramos, of San Antonio, and two Houston women sued Uber Technologies and Lyft in Federal Court. The wheelchair-bound plaintiffs say both San Francisco-based services are required to provide the accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"They require wheelchair accessible vehicles for transportation or other reasonable accommodating assistance such as assistance with storing their wheelchairs," the complaint states. "Under the ADA they may not be denied service."
The plaintiffs claim that Uber and Lyft allow their drivers to deny services to the disabled.
"In addition, Uber and Lyft provide no training or guidance to the vehicles-for-hire that use their service concerning lawfully meeting the needs of disabled consumers," the complaint states.
Riders of either service use their smartphone apps to locate, schedule and pay for a ride via credit card.
"These charges may include safety fees, as well as 'surcharge pricing' when demand is highest," the complaint states. "Uber and Lyft do not comply with local ordinances and regulations and are not authorized or licensed to provide vehicle-for-hire services in either San Antonio or Houston."
Uber and Lyft did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday evening.
(After this story had been posted and taken down, Uber spokesman Lane Kasselman told Courthouse News it would be "premature" to comment on the lawsuit, that the company had not seen the complaint.
"Our technology has increased the mobility and freedom of Uber riders and driver partners with disabilities," Kasselman said Wednesday. "Uber provides best-in-class request options for disabled riders and is a leader in harnessing technology to increase mobility.")
The plaintiffs seek an injunction banning the services from operating without adequate accommodation and a declaration that their rights are being violated under the ADA. They are represented by Jose Garza in San Antonio.
Uber and Lyft have come under fire from traditional taxi cab operators as they break into new markets across the country.
Cabbies in Houston and San Antonio sued the services in Federal Court in April, accusing the "unlicensed services" of "skimming only the profitable trips."
Cabbies in Connecticut sued the services in May in Federal Court, claiming they violate public transportation laws to run "a fleet of gypsy cabs."