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Discrimination Suit Filed Against Lyft

A group that promotes that rights of persons with disabilities (PWDs) filed on Tuesday a class-action lawsuit against ride-hailing company Lyft.

Sought for reaction, a Lyft spokesperson told TechCrunch that the company had “sought to increase access to transportation around the country for underserved populations, including those living with disabilities.”

The company representative added that Lyft has forged partnerships and has programs to improve WAV access in various parts of the United States, and exploring ways to expand them across the country.

The case was filed at the Alameda County Superior Court by Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) on behalf of Independent Living Resource Center and two wheelchair-bound persons. DRA describes itself as a “coalition of a disability rights group and individuals in the San Francisco Bay Area.”

First Case to Be Filed vs. Lyft

DRA alleged that Lyft failed “to make wheelchair-accessible vehicles available in the Bay Area through its rideshare service.”

The group said their lawsuit is the first one to be filed against Lyft in the company’s home base and seeks to end Lyft’s alleged “discriminatory practices and policies” that violate California’s laws against discrimination of any kind against any sector or group.

Inadequate Substitute

TechCrunch pointed out that Lyft has a service designed for PWDs called Access, but the plaintiffs called it “a sham and a completely inadequate substitute for actual accessible transportation.”

The plaintiffs said that instead of connecting a rider in access mode with an accessible vehicle, Lyft sends the rider a text message containing a link to a website that lists phone numbers for paratransit, public transportation agencies, and local taxi companies around the U.S.

TechCrunch validated the plaintiff’s claim when a writer of the tech news site asked for a car in Access mode.

While Lyft matched the writer with a driver, the writer also received a text message stating “Lyft accommodates service animals and foldable wheelchairs. If you need a vehicle with a ramp or lift, visit http://lft.to/access to connect to local services.”

It meant that those who have difficulty getting in and out of their wheelchairs would need to contact any of those local services.

DRA’s lawsuit said Access is “laughable as it is inadequate, and clearly demonstrates Lyft’s lack of commitment to making its service accessible to people who need vehicles with lifts or ramps.”

No Monetary Damages Asked

The DRA said it does not ask for monetary damages and instead wants equal access to Lyft for themselves and the PWD sector.

DRA has also sued Uber in New York and California for the company’s alleged failure to serve riders who use wheelchairs.

What’s Next?

A group that fights for the rights of PWDs has filed a class-action suit against Lyft for allegedly discriminating disabled individual.

What can you say about the move? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

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