The Uber app is shown in this Feb. 14, 2013, file photo in Washington, D.C. (AFP)
An advocacy group for the blind is suing the app-based ride-sharing service Uber, alleging the company discriminates against passengers with service dogs.
The federal civil rights suit filed Tuesday by the California chapter of the National Federation of the Blind cites instances in California and elsewhere when blind Uber customers summoned a car only to be refused a ride once the driver saw them with a service dog. In some cases, drivers allegedly abandoned blind travelers in extreme weather and charged cancellation fees after denying them rides, the complaint said.
The complaint filed in a Northern California District Court cites one instance where a California UberX driver put a service dog in the trunk and refused to pull over when the blind passenger realized where the animal was.
On another occasion a passenger was trying to explain that his dog was not a pet but a service animal when the driver allegedly cursed at him and accelerated abruptly, nearly injuring the dog and striking the passenger’s friend, who is also blind, with an open car door.
The group said it’s aware of more than 30 times blind customers were denied rides in violation of the American with Disabilities Act and California state law.
As a result, blind passengers are confronting unexpected delays and “face the degrading experience of being denied a basic service that is available to all other...