The suit was filed in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan on behalf of Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled, the Taxis for All Campaign, Disabled in Action of Metropolitan New York and individuals who use wheelchairs. The suit claims that while Uber has "grown exponentially" in the city, the company has shown "total disregard for the rights of people with disabilities." The DRA claims that Uber has a fleet of approximately 58,000 vehicles in the five boroughs of NYC, "fewer than 100 of them offer the lifts or ramps necessary" to accommodate those who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices.
The agency notes that other transportation options like taxis, subways and buses are mostly inaccessible, too. Even Access-A-Ride, the city's paratransit service, is pretty awful, according to the press release. An accessible Uber would benefit people with mobility disabilities if the company were able and willing to provide it in usable quantities. The plaintiffs are not seeking damages, just equal access to Uber's services.
"UberWAV makes up only .1% of the 58,000 vehicle fleet. It's just window dressing designed to skirt anti-discrimination laws," said DRA's Michelle Caiola in a statement. "Uber must not be allowed to operate in New York City in a discriminatory manner. It must ensure its convenience and benefits are available to all people equally."
Uber responded to our request for comment with the following statement: "Uber's technology has expanded access to reliable transportation options for all riders, including those with disabilities and has enabled people with disabilities to earn income in new ways. While there is certainly more work to be done, we will continue advocating for a solution that offers affordable, reliable transportation to those who need a wheelchair accessible vehicle." The spokesperson also pointed out that the company has been advocating for a 5-cent surcharge on all for-hire rides in the city, which would incentivize more drivers (not just ones that drive for Uber) to convert to wheelchair-accessible vehicles.