Uber, Lyft Face Accessibility Class Action Lawsuit in B.C.

Ridesharing services Uber and Lyft are facing a class action lawsuit in British Columbia, alleging those that require wheelchairs or similar devices, don’t have access.

The lawsuit was filed at the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, with David Sheldon listed as the complainant. He is a quadriplegic reliant on a motorized wheelchair, and claims in December 2023, he was unable to use the services due to lack of accessibility.

“The physically disabled community needs to be able to get around and they need to have fair and equal access, reasonable access, to transportation services,” said lawyer Saro Turner, from Slater Vecchio, the law firm behind the class action. “Behaviour modification is primary here so that the conduct changes for everybody.”

A previous wheelchair user, Martin Bauer, was awarded $35,000 by Uber by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal earlier in March. Uber was found to have discriminated based on disability, since it began service in B.C. Bauer filed a complaint with the tribunal back in January 2020, shortly after Uber launched in the province.

Uber told CTV News in a statement, “Our technology and the transportation provided by drivers has transformed mobility for many people, and we’re continuously innovating to support everyone’s ability to easily move around their communities.”

“We comply with local laws on accessibility, paying fees and/or having a WAV service available. In BC, the government chose to require rideshare platforms like Uber to pay a per-trip fee relating to accessibility. To date, tens of millions of dollars have been collected from the ride-share industry. However, only a small portion of money has been allocated and only to taxi owner-operators. Ride-share drivers are prohibited from accessing the fund and expanding transportation options,” said Uber.

The class action aims to rally those with physical disabilities, and who have faced service denials from Uber or Lyft in recent years, to join the legal challenge represented by Slater Vecchio.

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