Uber Denies Service To a Blind Passenger – Again

2019-01-27_12-27-09

A legally blind woman is talking out against Uber after a driver refused her a ride since she was traveling with a service dog.

Mollie Baland includes a rare eye condition that doesn’t allow her to see things unless they are very close to her, she told Denver news station KMGH. Baland, a student at Regis University in Denver, has a guide dog, Ferris, to help her navigate.  As she was getting ready to head to class on Thursday, she decided to hire an Uber motorist to make traveling easier.

“The past few days Ferris and I have had a little problem on the ice, slipping around, so I was like, ‘I will only order an Uber now and pay the half-mile to visit campus,'” she told the news outlet.  When the driver pulled up and watched Baland with Ferris, she stated he refused to allow them into the car.” The driver rolls down his window, and he says ,’I can not have a dog in here,'” she told KMGH.

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In case it makes you feel any better, then I have a certificate to show that he is a guide dog.’ And the driver didn’t say anything. He drove off.”

And when Baland reported that the issue into the ride-hailing service, she stated she was told that the company would deactivate the motorist’s account only when it received a second report. Instead, she walked into class in a snowstorm, KMGH reported.

Based on Uber’s website,”State and federal law prohibit driver-partners using the Uber Driver App by denying service to riders with support animals because of the service creatures, and from otherwise discriminating against passengers with support animals.”

The company policy states that “driver-partners who participate in discriminatory conduct in violation of this legal obligation will reduce their ability to use the Driver Program.”However, Baland said this is not how her case has been treated.”I am very upset with how Uber handled the situation. The man was just given a warning,” she told KMGH.

“I am resilient. I just don’t want this to happen to other men and women.” Uber issued an announcement to Yahoo Lifestyle regarding Baland’s trip issue. “We’re profoundly upset by this rider’s experience and also have been in touch with both parties and have taken appropriate action. Drivers who use the Uber app agree to accommodate passengers with service animals and comply with their independent duties under access laws.”

This is not the first time Uber has dropped under scrutiny for access issues. The company settled a lawsuit with the National Federation of the Blind at 2016 following the organization accused of discriminating against blind riders.  As part of this settlement, the firm”agreed to take steps to make apparent to motorists using Uber which they are obligated to transfer… any passenger with a service animal,” according to its site.

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