Uber and other ridesharing apps are becoming a critical form of transportation for all citizens, including citizens with disabilities. But few Uber vehicles are accessible and fewer still are readily available. When a leading disability rights organization in Chicago, Access for Living, sued Uber, a district court adopted Uber’s technical reading of Title III of the ADA and denied the organization the legal right to bring suit against Uber. Numerous disability advocacy organizations, including CPR, have now filed an amicus brief in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, stressing the importance of ride sharing technologies and the need for them to make necessary accommodations for persons with disabilities.
Access to transportation is critical to ensuring that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to fully participate in society. The availability of Uber and Lyft has filled gaps in transportation access for some people with disabilities while widening gaps in access for others. Riders who do not need wheelchair accessible vehicles now have access to true on-demand service that allows them to travel to meetings, appointments, work, school, and social engagements. Wheelchair users have been left out of this increase in access. In many cities, wheelchair users have actually seen their transportation options become more limited due to ridesharing services pushing out of business the traditional taxi companies that had offered wheelchair accessible vehicles.
You can read the whole amicus brief here.