SAN FRANCISCO - Uber will pay several million dollars to compensate more than 65,000 Uber users who were charged discriminatory fees due to their disabilities.
The Department of Justice's November 2021 lawsuit alleged that Uber violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA provision bans discrimination by private transportation companies.
Uber started charging passengers wait time fees in April 2016, according to the department complaint. Users were hit with fees two minutes after the Uber vehicle arrived at the pickup spot, and the fees accumulated until the trip began.
Uber allegedly violated the ADA by failing to adjust its wait time fee policy for passengers with disabilities who needed more than two minutes to get into their Uber. As a result, Uber will compensate more than 65,000 riders with double the amount of wait time fees they were charged.
Going forward, Uber has agreed to waive wait time fees for their users who verify that they need more time to get into their Uber due to disability. The company also established that refunds will be available for those without waivers who were charged the fee due to disability.
"Ensuring equal access to transportation for those with disabilities is an important goal of the ADA," said U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds of the Northern District of California in a statement.
"People with disabilities should not be made to feel like second-class citizens or punished because of their disability, which is exactly what Uber’s wait time fee policy did," said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in a statement.