Lyft vows to make sure people with disabilities have equal access to rides after DOJ investigation into L.A. area drivers

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An injured man pushes his wheelchair along a street in the downtown area of Los Angeles on July 22, 2009. (MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

An injured man pushes his wheelchair along a street in the downtown area of Los Angeles on July 22, 2009. (MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

After being accused of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Lyft is agreeing to make sure people who use collapsible wheelchairs or walkers have equal access to rides, the Department of Justice announced Monday.

The DOJ began investigating Lyft after a man filed at least 12 complaints with the company about his treatment from specific drivers around Los Angeles between 2015 to 2017. Eight of the man’s complaints alleged that drivers in the area “either refused or could not transport him because he had a wheelchair,” and four other complaints he filed alleged the drivers “treated him rudely because he had a wheelchair,” the DOJ said in a news release.

A veteran who lost both of his legs in combat also alleged that on one occasion in November 2018, a Lyft driver denied him a ride because he had a collapsible wheelchair, officials said.

The DOJ said Lyft has been “fully cooperative” with the investigation.

According to the settlement agreement, Lyft has pledged to revise its wheelchair policies, including notifying new drivers about them, communicating its wheelchair policies once each quarter to current drivers and creating an educational video for drivers.

The company is also planning to implement a complaint procedure that complies with federal law and to hold its drivers accountable for failing to comply with its wheelchair policy.

Lyft has also agreed to refund charges and provide $10 credits to riders who make “plausible complaints of discrimination” under the company’s revised wheelchair policy. 

The DOJ said Lyft will be paying damages ranging from $4,000 to $30,000 to four complainants with disabilities and a $40,000 civil penalty to the United States. Lyft will also be providing biannual written reports for the next three years detailing what the company has done to comply with the ADA.

      

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