Class action lawsuit filed against Uber over lack of wheelchair access in NYC vehicles

Well given it provides a service for a majority of people, it is viable. But if you hold it to the same accessibility laws of other businesses, it won’t work without alterations.

A co-worker does Uber and if the person is able to get them selves in and out of the chair and he can put it in the trunk, no problem. That is how most people carting around their parents in their Buick do it. People needing more than that Uber would need a special fleet, just like I assume Taxi services do. I mean, most Taxis are sedans, and some vans, but even most of them don’t have powered lifts. I assume they have SOME vehicles like that, but I bet one has to wait for them as well.

I’ll find out in 20 years my leg completely withers away and my other leg is too old to compensate. Unless I get powered robot legs. Fingers crossed.


This is the reason that I don’t get too worked up about Uber; I just I’m not convinced they’re going to be in business much longer as investors have to lose money hand over fist and deal with serious management problems until self driving cars arrive, and I’m not convinced it will be soon enough.

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But we do. ADA is a civil rights law, and any business making a general offering to the public must comply.



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But they do pick their drivers. Try to sign up for Uber with an old motorcycle and they will reject you. I’m so sick of companies taking the savings of scale and pretending they aren’t employing people, without taking the costs that come with that model.


Most of the other businesses that have had to be ADA compliant were viable without compliance too. I’m sure your local bus service would love the savings of not complying with a large number of laws.


It seems most people are concerned about the inconvenience to the company, the drivers, and even future, unemployeed truckers (give them jobs teaching AI all-weather driving skills), but hardly anyone is concerned about the rights of the differently-abled. In this country, the law of the land is “equal accesability” by providing “reasonable accommodations”, because, as a people, we decided to do the honorable and ethical thing, and turn the Americans with Disabilities act into law. Any company that wrestles with finding a way to break this particular law is not a moral company, nor one that will get any of my money.
I had thought to take on Uber because of this reason, after moving to Seattle, and finding myself in a wheelchair after 3 months. Using Uber was a great way for me to get to know city, in a relatively safe way, and the drivers were veritable cornucopias of city-specific information and the local culture. Realizing that this service was no longer available to me was frustrating. At least it was until I realized what a hard-on the entire city of Seattle has towards perpetuating social discrimination towards the differently-abled by allowing so many businesses to thrive here without requiring implementation of the ADA. Even new business’s in new buildings get to skirt the law, and not build according to recommendations set forth in the ADA, such as a new “medically-focused” cannabis shop in a new building with steps, but no ramp or lift. Even medical establishments are allowed to skirt these laws. Swedish Family Medicine can no longer serve as my primary care because they don’t care enough to provide exam rooms that can fit wheelchairs, nor do they have hight-adjustable exam tables.
Following a car accident on the 101 in Marin County California in 2000, I spent several years in a wheelchair before I could walk again, and not once did I feel barred from just about any activity, except for once, when I tried to convince a carney at a county fair that it was safe enough to let me climb on his climbing wall with just my arms. He was probably right. I did the wheelchair version of stomping off anyway. I was young, lol. Here in Seattle, most surface streets don’t have sidewalk cutouts, unless you are in the downtown area, and even then, they stop after about 6 blocks, and the rest of the city is hit and miss, with more misses than hits. Strangely, it’s the most affluent areas of the city that have the least amount of accesability. Right now I’m staying at a nursing home in one of these affluent areas, and the sidewalks are so broken, with cutouts on one side of the street and not the other, that I have to go two blocks over just to catch the bus, even though it stops right in front of the nursing home, and one of those blocks that I travel to take the bus, I have to ride my wheelchair in the street just to get there, and then drive over a church lawn just to get on sidewalk.
I guess my point is that discriminatory business practices to save a few bucks, or, as I feel is true in parts of Seattle, discriminatory practices with the intent to exclude certain portions of the population, are morally reprehensible to our society. We’ve already made the decision as a country to attempt actual equality. Any person or city or business that intends to exist in this country must accept that we already chose to take the high road as concerns equitability and accesability. The high road means more work, cost,and expendature of resources, because taking the high road is just that, a difficult climb that paves the way for the rest of the world, including our most marginalized groups. We all must rise to the challenge. This is not a regulatory issue. It’s a moral issue.


A driver with a lift van would get more business, so there should be a small economic force operating to encourage it. Either it’s not strong enough, or the Uber model doesn’t really work in the long-term for the drivers.

It’s really hard to defend the concept of Uber, when the implementation of Uber is pretty crap.

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I know. But they pretend the don’t. Just independent contractors, you honor, we have nooooooo control, aside from the app and the rules and the rate schedule, and…

The McD’s analogy is pretty weak. The law requires each franchise owner to be ADA compliant. Would it force each Uber driver to buy a lift van? Sounds like a straw man, but I don’t see where else this could go. Take away each driver’s paycheck and give it to the activists?

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I’ll grant that the analogy isn’t perfect. (Is this proof that all analogies involving cars are flawed, even when the situation being analogized is reversed?)

You’re still hitting at my point in your first paragraph, though. Uber’s big lie is that they’re a ride-sharing service. They’re not. They’re a taxi company, exploiting loopholes and legal gray areas to avoid having to take on any of the social, legal, or administrative obligations - and attendant expenses - that come with that distinction (while still somehow losing billions of dollars anyway). If Uber actually has to classify its drivers as employees (which I think they do, given the amount of control they exert over them), then it’s incumbent upon Uber to ensure that the service they’re offering to the public is ADA-compliant.

If Uber were just a ride-sharing platform (“Craigslist, but for hitchhiking”), then I don’t think it would be incumbent upon them to provide an ADA-compliant fleet - after all, they’re not actually providing the service, they’re just serving as an intermediary between individuals. Assuming mobile apps are subject to ADA compliance (an assumption that is greatly lacking in legal precedent, AFAIK), all Uber would need to do is ensure that their app was ADA-compliant, and they’d be in the clear.

The rules for regulating an actual ride-sharing economy under the ADA are admittedly more difficult. On the one hand, direct person-to-person transactions for services outside of a business or civil context haven’t really been subject to ADA scrutiny. On the other hand, I think the need for ADA compliance increases the closer to a business-like operation you get. So, would an actual ride-sharing economy require every driver to obtain ADA-compliant vehicles, or at least provide an acceptable level of service for disabled individuals? Maybe. As with “commercial vehicle insurance”, it’s kind of a question of intent. I don’t have to have a commercial insurance policy on my truck because I’ve driven friends (or even strangers) around town on occasion, but I would have to have it if I put a sign on the roof and started doing it as a job.

To a certain extent, the “sharing economy” illustrates the problem of corporations trying to foist the responsibility of providing critical services off onto individuals. It’s a lot more practical to require a taxi company to provide accommodation for everyone across their entire fleet than it is for every individual person to buy an ADA-compliant lift van. (Ideally, larger organizations would also pay their employees well enough that they wouldn’t need to make money renting out their apartment for a weekend or driving people around town, but that’s a different aspect of the larger and thornier problem of corporate malfeasance.)


And you don’t have to become ADA compliant until you renovate. At which time, yes, sometimes buildings are torn down and rebuilt if they cannot be made accessible.

The ADA wasn’t imagined by an MBA, so it’s not an instant solution, but give it a couple generations.

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A lot of the vehicles are leased to drivers by Uber so they actually have quite a lot of control over the types of vehicles in use.


I believe they also arrange / influence loans - which is exactly how environmental and safety law are enforced on industry - by the bankers and insurers who will lose money if things go upside down on them.

Whatever, our needs are externalities - it’s Ubers world. :laughing:


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There’s also the option of Uber saying something like, “We will not be approving non-accessible drivers in $region until x% of local drivers are ADA-compliant.”

I can’t be sure but, I don’t think most new drivers these days are really in the “using my personal car and spare time” category. And, it isn’t like updating the app with an “only show accessible drivers” option would be difficult.

As always, though, Uber wants to ignore inconvenient regulations.




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