Service dogs for the blind and others with disabilities have long been allowed to go where most pets cannot. Now, they are finally allowed in Uber vehicles.
In 2014, the National Federation of the Blind filed a lawsuit on behalf of all potential Uber passengers with service dogs. Previously, Uber had no policy which required Uber drivers to take passengers with service animals. Essentially, service dogs and their blind owners were being denied passage. There was even one instance where an Uber driver allegedly locked a dog in their trunk.
The lawsuit finally came to a settlement this past Saturday. In the settlement, Uber agrees to put a policy in place that prohibits drivers from denying dogs passage. Uber further agreed to enforce a policy that any Uber driver with one complaint against them for refusing to take a service dog in their vehicle would be automatically removed from the platform.
Under the terms of the settlement, Uber will pay $225,000 to the National Federation of the Blind. This money is meant to compensate the organization for overseeing Uber’s compliance with the settlement.
The National Federation of the Blind sought to make Uber more friendly and accessible for all people effected by their lawsuit. Uber insists that they broke no laws and refuse to admit liability.
Federal law already prohibits taxi drivers and other public transportation drivers from refusing service dogs as passengers. This settlement extends the rule for both current and new Uber drivers.
Uber is one of the most popular apps for finding transportation. Uber has been facing a lot of heat in recent years over a variety of problems. The National Federation of the Blind hopes that this settlement will put an end to any discrimination problems that the blind and their service animals may be subjected to from Uber drivers.