Lawsuit asks for better access to Uber cars

Three New Orleans, Louisiana residents who use wheelchairs have filed a civil lawsuit in federal court alleging that Uber is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by not offering a way for them to load their electric wheelchairs into cars.

The ride-hailing company does offer a service called “UberAssist” in New Orleans. Under this service, a trained driver will assist a passenger who needs help stowing their foldable wheelchair, walker or scooter in the vehicle.

The lawsuit states that since Uber provides wheelchair accessible vehicles in other cities with an option called UberWAV, the service should be available in New Orleans as well. The service is offered in New York City, Chicago and Houston, the Times-Picayune reported.

The company said that in those cities, drivers who pick up disabled passengers use wheelchair-accessible vehicles obtained from third parties.

The lawsuit calls for Uber to provide vehicles with access ramps for passengers who can’t get out of their wheelchairs to enter an Uber vehicle or whose wheelchairs don’t fold for storage in the vehicle’s trunk.

The attorney representing the case said the complaint is based on federal civil rights rules and anti-discrimination law in California, where Uber is based.

In an emailed statement, an Uber spokeswoman told the Times-Picayune that the company takes the issue seriously and is “continuously exploring ways to facilitate mobility and freedom via the Uber 

app for all riders, including riders who use motorized wheelchairs.”

The law firm representing the plaintiffs in the New Orleans case also filed an ADA case against Uber in May representing two residents of Jackson, Mississippi.

Uber Technologies Inc. has its headquarters in San Francisco and operates in more than 600 cities worldwide.

Foldable wheelchairs add to the mobility and freedom of people with disabilities. To learn more information about the best modern, motorized, foldable Electric Wheelchair, visit the Intellichair website.