The United States Department of Transportation announced Monday that it has reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with ride-hailing platform Uber, which it accused of failing to adapt its service to people with disabilities.
“Under the terms of this agreement, Uber will pay several million dollars in compensation to more than 65,000 riders who were charged discriminatory surcharges because of their disabilities,” the department said in a statement.
Disabled users have sometimes paid more for their trips because they couldn’t get into a car quickly enough, since since 2016, Uber has imposed financial penalties on customers when a driver waits more than two minutes at a designated meeting point at an airport. in advance (five minutes for Uber Black or SUV customers).
U.S. The Department of Justice sued Uber in federal court in California in November, arguing that it “takes more than two minutes for many passengers with limited mobility to board or load a vehicle for a variety of reasons.”
Drivers cannot change ride parameters and customers with reduced mobility cannot avoid being fined.
With this agreement, valid for two years, Uber undertakes not to charge waiting time for all passengers who certify that they need extra time to board an Uber car due to Uber.
The company will reimburse 65,000 passengers for double the waiting costs they incurred, “which could represent hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in compensation”.
It will also pay more than $1.7 million to more than 1,000 passengers who complained they were charged for waiting times because of Uber’s flaws, and $500,000 to other victims.
“People with disabilities should not feel like second-class citizens, or penalized because of their disability, which is what Uber’s wait time policy did,” Kristen Clark, a senior official with the department, asserts in a press release. justice
Asked by AFP, Uber said it was “pleased to close this deal” and “look forward to continuing to help everyone get around.”
The California company also said its waiting fee refund policy predates the contract.
“We work every day to improve accessibility for all users and encourage passengers with disabilities to use our self-declaration document to be exempt from waiting fees,” he says.