United Spinal Association, Taxis For All Campaign and other wheelchair user advocates held a “roll-in” outside Uber’s West Side headquarters in Manhattan today, calling on the company to end its discriminatory practices and to start serving wheelchair users, blind people and other disabled persons in New York City and around the U.S.
The protestors urged Mayor de Blasio, the City Council and the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) to enforce rules and pass new legislation that would require Uber and other app-based taxi services to serve wheelchair users.
“Uber’s zeal to replace the soon to be 50% accessible yellow cab industry coupled with their refusal to operate even a single accessible vehicle is jeopardizing the taxi option for wheelchair and scooter users,” said James Weisman, President and CEO of United Spinal Association.
“The needs and rights of people with disabilities should not be ignored on the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” added Weisman.
TLC records show that at least 20,777 Uber vehicles are on city streets, along with thousands more Uber drivers, but not one Uber vehicle is wheelchair-accessible. Accessible taxis typically have a ramp that allows wheelchair and power chair users to roll into and out of the vehicle.
Holding signs reading, “Uber UNFAIR,” “Uber: NOT innovating, JUST discriminating” and “Uber: Stop Your Old Time Discrimination,” wheelchair and scooter users and their supporters noted that 25 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act became law, the six-year-old company has consistently rejected direct appeals to offer accessible service here or in other cities
“Uber says it’s revolutionizing the taxi business, but what it’s really doing is engaging in old-style discrimination,” said protest organizer Jean Ryan, a Taxis For All leader and a vice president at Disabled In Action.