Apr 21, 2015 - Animal Law    2 Comments

Uber accused of refusing to transport service animals

A federal judge told the ridesharing company Uber that it must defend against a discrimination lawsuit after its drivers were accused of refusing to transport service animals.

Some of the accusations paint an extremely troubling picture:

In one instance, the lawsuit states, two blind passengers with service animals were met with cursing and shouts of “no dogs” from an Uber driver who refused to admit them. Another time, a driver allegedly stashed a blind woman’s dog in the trunk then ignored her pleas to pull over once she’d realized what had happened.

Talk about callous disregard…  if allegations are proven true, it will take a long time to remove those stains from the company.

Uber has 14 days to respond. The Justice Department has already weighed in on this issue, and stated:

“The ADA applies to private entities that are primarily engaged in providing transportation services,” even if a company is not a public accommodation, said the filing by Justice Department lawyers and U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag’s office.

We strongly support service animals and the people who need them at NAIA, and will be keeping a close eye on this case.

  • Genesis Trucios

    Uber should have made it clear to the drivers from the very beginning that service dogs should always be allowed. Service dogs are there to help people in need and should not be treated this way.

  • Nauseating. A friend of mine here in England took one of her cats to the vet a couple of weeks ago and the taxi driver tried to make her put the cat in the boot, even though he was in a carrier box, because the carrier had been on the floor. I mean, really… where had his own feet been, and all his passengers’ before that? I’m sure it was an excuse. It makes me feel sick to imagine what might have happened had my friend needed a service animal.

    This is not the first instance of ableism involving taxi drivers and Uber drivers either, though, not from personal experience nor as I’m hearing. This one simply happens to be combined with animal cruelty… But on my part, I do all I can to avoid having to take taxis.

    Why? Well, many taxi drivers have a nasty habit of taking advantage of the fact that I, as a wheelchair user, cannot get in or out of the cab unaided, by drastically overcharging me and refusing to put the ramp down until I’ve paid the full fare, no matter how expensive. In a standard taxi, one that is not a black cab (and therefore not wheelchair-accessible to a person who can’t fold their chair), the journey from my apartment to the nearest major railway station costs £5. The last time I made that self-same journey in a black cab, with my powerchair, I was charged £12.40 – the difference is frankly disgusting.

    I can’t say I’m terribly surprised about this stuff in this article. It’s not at all uncommon to inflict ableist discrimination of this sort on someone (and their service animal) who doesn’t have the freedom to choose to say “I’m not going to travel with you if you do that”, or might not know it’s been done, or just to get away. It’s getting worse and worse, and it makes me sicker than I already was. It needs to be stopped…