“Uber’s Business Isn’t Built to Help Disabled People, ” reads the headline to Wired contributor Issie Lapowsky’s take on the issue. She points to Uber’s persistent declaration of its status as a technology platform, not a taxi company, as the main reason why the service is unreliable for disabled people.
Since Uber does not require any of its drivers to have wheelchair accessible vehicles, it’s a true gamble for people who need assistance with their wheelchairs.
And it goes beyond wheelchair accessibility. For any person who requires specific care when being transported, Uber is not prepared to accommodate. As Lapowsky notes, “Uber is not a fleet operator capable of handing down mandates to its drivers.”
Whereas taxi school teaches its drivers to operate with accessibility and safety in mind, Uber leaves that lesson plan up to its drivers intuition. Taxi companies can enforce policies and processes to ensure every customer enjoys a safe and comfortable ride. Uber simply falls short.
Some disabled riders have taken action. This year a number of lawsuits were launched across California to Texas, alleging that Uber “violated the Americans With Disability Act, by failing to make their cars handicapped accessible.”
Reports of service animals being crammed into trunks, while people with wheelchairs are being abandoned on the side of the road paint a disturbing picture of how far away Uber is from addressing a serious issue.