Sues Uber for Overcharging People with Disabilities
November 11, 2021
The Justice Department today
filed a lawsuit against Uber Technologies for charging “wait time” fees
to passengers who, because of disability, need more time to enter a car.
Uber’s policies and practices of charging wait time fees based on
disability have harmed many passengers and potential passengers with
disabilities throughout the country. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that
Uber violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),
which prohibits discrimination by private transportation companies like
In April 2016, Uber began charging passengers wait time fees in a number
of cities, eventually expanding the policy nationwide. Wait time fees
start two minutes after the Uber car arrives at the pickup location and
are charged until the car begins its trip.
The department’s complaint alleges that Uber violates the ADA by failing
to reasonably modify its wait time fee policy for passengers who,
because of disability, need more than two minutes to get in an Uber car.
Passengers with disabilities may need additional time to enter a car for
various reasons. A passenger may, for example, use a wheelchair or
walker that needs to be broken down and stored in the car. Or a
passenger who is blind may need additional time to safely walk from the
pickup location to the car itself. The department’s lawsuit alleges
that, even when Uber is aware that a passenger’s need for additional
time is clearly disability-based, Uber starts charging a wait time fee
at the two-minute mark.
The lawsuit seeks relief from the court, including ordering Uber to stop
discriminating against individuals with disabilities. Additionally, the
department asks the court to order Uber to modify its wait time fee
policy to comply with the ADA; train its staff and drivers on the ADA;
pay money damages to people subjected to the illegal wait time fees; and
pay a civil penalty to vindicate the public’s interest in eliminating
with disabilities deserve equal access to all areas of community life,
including the private transportation services provided by companies like
Uber,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice
Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This lawsuit seeks to bring Uber
into compliance with the mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act
while sending a powerful message that Uber cannot penalize passengers
with disabilities simply because they need more time to get into a car.
Uber and other companies that provide transportation services must
ensure equal access for all people, including those with disabilities.”
“Uber’s wait time fees take a significant toll on people with
disabilities,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds for the
Northern District of California. “Passengers with disabilities who need
additional boarding time are entitled to access ridesharing services
without discrimination. This lawsuit seeks to assist people with
disabilities to live their lives with independence and dignity, as the