The Obama administration recently sided with plaintiffs in a federal court case against the ridesharing giant Uber, stating that such companies are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act and cannot discriminate against people with disabilities. “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 Department of Justice court filing.
In a lawsuit that could have wide implications for disabled riders, the National Federation for the Blind claims there have been at least 30 instances in which Uber drivers refused to transport blind passengers and their guide dogs. The suit claimed a Sacramento driver gave a passenger a ride but locked their service dog in the trunk.
Uber says it doesn’t provide public transportation services and is exempt from the ADA because it contracts with independent drivers. The DOJ says Uber “may not contract away its ADA responsibilities” and is covered under the ADA