Transportation companies Uber and Lyft are currently under investigation for their ability to provide access and services to handicapped passengers, the Attorney General's office of Massachusetts announced. This issue is just one of the many challenges that the two companies are currently facing.
Numerous groups supporting the rights and needs of disabled people have already raised questions about the manner in which Uber and Lyft drivers handle handicapped passengers. However, this is the first time that an attorney general has questioned such aspect of the transport service, placing the companies under investigation.
The civil rights department of the Massachusetts attorney general's office communicated with the two companies this week so that the matters under question would be discussed appropriately, said Jillian Fennimore, spokesperson of the attorney general's office. No formal interventions have been implemented, she confirmed.
According to Uber, their company holds regular meetings with advocates and policy authors so that they can respond to the needs of people with disabilities. They have teams, which are responsible for developing access for people with disabilities in Massachusetts and in the entire country.
Similar programs to help handicapped and elderly passengers are said to have been started by Uber as well. Uber said in its blog post last week that the company participated in the White House Conference on Aging, further opening the company's services to the senior community.
Lyft is yet to make a statement about the current issue being linked to them.
More and more people, particularly those who are involved in the business sector, are using the services of Uber and Lyft. Uber is accessed by passengers through a smartphone app. Some drivers work full-time for the service companies and others are doing it part-time.
Uber and Lyft are both involved in a wide range of legal and regulatory issues. In 2014, Jennifer McPhail sued Lyft for not having a vehicle that could accommodate passengers bound to a wheelchair. Another issue is whether drivers should be treated as employees or mere contractors.
In an Uber blog entry posted earlier this month, the company said that they are collaborating with the National Federation of the Blind so that they can get insight into the needs of blind passengers. Uber introduced a new service called UberASSIST, which is designed to better assist senior citizens and people with disabilities.