Are rideshare companies required to have wheelchair accessible vehicles

person driving

Over the past decade, Uber and Lyft have swept the nation with their revolutionary transportation model. While the ease of the apps and transparency from driver to rider make these companies incredibly popular, they fail to accommodate everyone. 

Individuals with a disability that requires them to use a wheelchair are particularly excluded from the excitement of using a rideshare company. Since freelancing drivers use their own vehicles, it’s rare to find one that’s wheelchair accessible. So, what can rideshare companies to accommodate these individuals as well? 

The Introduction of WAV

A WAV or wheelchair accessible vehicle isn’t a new concept, but it is new to rideshare. Uber has introduced their uberWAV cars, featuring drivers with accessible vehicles, as a way to help those disabilities take advantage of their service. Uber also offers ASSIST, which features drivers trained in accommodating those with wheelchairs. 

Lyft has introduced Access Mode, which does the same. However, these accessible options are only available in limited markets. While they are more common in densely populated cities, you would be hard pressed to find one elsewhere. 

Even worse, wait times for these vehicles are incredibly long due to their scarce number. This makes ridesharing an unreliable option for the disabled. While the introduction of WAV drivers has helped, it’s far from enough to place these companies in good standing with ADA accommodation. 

Understanding Your Rights

No matter what disability you have, it’s vital that you know your rights as a customer to these rideshare companies. When the understanding between a rider and driver is violated or abused, you can exercise your rights through the company as well as legally under ADA accessibility laws

The most common violation is when a driver chooses not to pick you up due to your disability. This happens often due to the lack of WAV drivers, but that doesn’t make it right. You can file a complaint through the company, but many individuals have filed lawsuits since this violates ADA law. 

Drivers also routinely break the rules of the rideshare company, often out of not knowing what to do when picking up a rider in a wheelchair. Aspects like safety, personal space, and law compliance are all burdens that drivers accept. Any violation of these rules, laid out in the app, should be reported to the company immediately. 

Discrimination, while not as common, does happen. Not only can you complain to the rideshare company about your experience and unjust treatment, but you also have legal rights that extend beyond ADA compliance. It’s in your best interest to hire a lawyer and sue in this instance.

A Note on Accidents

When drivers break the safety rules of their company as well as safety laws, it puts you at risk in the event of an accident. If you do find yourself in a wreck while riding, you as the passenger have rights to compensation. You should notify the authorities as well as hire an attorney if you are hurt in a car accident. With the rideshare company involved, you might be surprised at the damages you can be awarded in court. 

Author: Marty Shumaker