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Transportation

Massachusetts Examining Disability Access For Uber, Lyft 155

An anonymous reader writes: Uber and Lyft have been dealing with a host of legal and regulatory issues, and the Massachusetts attorney general's office is adding one more: disability access. No formal action has been taken, but the office has contacted the companies to see how they handle equal access. Uber says it often speaks with advocates about accessibility, and less than a week ago they introduced uberASSIST, which connects riders with drivers who are specifically trained to assist those with disabilities. Still, the inquiry seems to have been spurred by questions from disabilities rights groups, not to mention ongoing lawsuits. "[T]he National Federation of the Blind of California accused Uber in a lawsuit last year of discrimination by refusing to transport guide dogs. A San Francisco federal judge has said the case can proceed. ... In Texas, Jennifer McPhail sued Lyft last year, accusing the company of not having a wheelchair accessible vehicle operating in Austin."
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Massachusetts Examining Disability Access For Uber, Lyft

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  • by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Sunday July 19, 2015 @08:08AM (#50139103)
    Deny access to everyone because Uber isn't ADA compliant?
    • Deny access to everyone because Uber isn't ADA compliant?

      They should apply the same answer they would with any other company not in compliance, unless you think Uber should get special treatment.

      • by cob666 ( 656740 )
        Private clubs are exempt from ADA compliance, all Uber has to do is charge a one time 'Membership Fee' before you can use their service.

        User seems to only exist in places where there are already taxi services. Taxi service already have vehicles that service handicapped people. Why would a handicapped person insist on using a service that isn't equipped to accommodate them instead of just calling a cab that IS?

        This is like those lawyers that drive around small towns looking for businesses that aren't whe
        • I'm not sure the membership trick would work. If it is available to the general public, it becomes quite murky.

          Maybe you'd like to be the one who chooses which companies must comply with certain regs, and which don't, but as a matter of public policy, it becomes very complicated once you start parsing regs based on those criteria. I think Uber is a great idea, but that doesn't really matter when it come to fairness.

          If you want to propose to do away with the regulations altogether, and let companies c
          • If it is available to the general public, it becomes quite murky.

            But that's the whole point. It's not available to the general public if you must pay a fee and register as a member.

            Unless you want to redefine words and terms specifically for Uber/Lyft?

            Which is even more wrong and corrupt.

            Uber/Lyft and similar services are a threat to the comfortable little crony relationship between taxi companies and politicians, and a threat to government's desire to regulate, monitor, and control every aspect of society and all social interactions.

            This is just another example of th

            • But that's the whole point. It's not available to the general public if you must pay a fee and register as a member.

              I think you are making quite an assumption that a large company can skirt regulations with such a trick. You may want to see what other bounds there are on private club qualification besides just charging a member fee, and also what types of business can operate as a club and be exempt from certain (but not all) regulations. For example, a private club cannot violate fire codes.

              I'm sure the types of tricks you are coming up with have all been tried before in many different ways.

              • I think you are making quite an assumption that a large company can skirt regulations with such a trick.

                That's the entire point. It would cease to be a company and become a private club.

                Again, you would have to redefine words and terms to get around existing laws in order to attack UberClub/LyftClub.

                Which you seem to be OK with.

                At least, until it affects something negatively that you specifically care about.

                Strat

                • It doesn't matter if I am ok with it or not. The point is, there is simply no freaking way your trick will work. You might believe it should, you might want it to, I might want it to, but you simply don't understand it isn't so simple.

                  Costco is a membership club, yet they must adhere to accessibility regulations. You don't see big companies skirting regulations by becoming 'clubs'. There is a reason for that.
                  • It doesn't matter if I am ok with it or not. The point is, there is simply no freaking way your trick will work. You might believe it should, you might want it to, I might want it to, but you simply don't understand it isn't so simple.

                    It probably won't work, I agree. I was not aware that operating under the existing laws governing private clubs was a "trick". I guess operating within long-established laws is considered a "trick" when it thwarts the Progressive government political agenda. The US government routinely ignores the Rule of Law and does whatever it damned well pleases regardless of laws or the US Constitution that contradict it's position.

                    The US has for all intents & purposes become the world's largest "banana republic" w

                    • I was not passing judgement on what is 'fine' or whatever. I was not endorsing nor defending Uber. I was simply analyzing the situation as it is today, and along the way making some devil's advocate points to some that seem to oversimplify the situation.

                      And, by the way, the Uber issue is not only a US issue, just check out what happened in France a few weeks ago with the taxi drivers.

                      But hey, never is a chance to take a shot at the US, right? I sure whatever country you live in is much better in every
                    • But hey, never is a chance to take a shot at the US, right? I sure whatever country you live in is much better in every way.

                      I am a US citizen.

                      I do not allow nationalistic pride to blind me to reality. The US is well on the way to being a full-blown authoritarian fascist oligarchy.

                      And, by the way, the Uber issue is not only a US issue, just check out what happened in France a few weeks ago with the taxi drivers.

                      I am aware. It's no surprise that entrenched interests try to protect their government-enforced monopoly and that the government works to protect it's partners in cronyism. That's pretty much what is happening here in the US regarding Uber/Lyft, nor will it be a surprise when other businesses who depend on government to protect their markets and busines

                    • I see you can't discuss the particulars of a topic like this without dragging in your political agenda. And without getting angry at others who are not.

                      Spare me your lectures. You don't do a very good job of making your points, some of which I actually think may be somewhat valid, because you engulf them in angry generalizations and doomsaying. Basically, you come across as they guy with a "The end is near" sign.

                      I'm sorry to day that ultimately, Uber will disappoint you, as they care nothing about you
            • If anybody can come in off the street, pay the fee, and become a member, it isn't a private club. I'm very confident that this has been tried before unsuccessfully.

              • If anybody can come in off the street, pay the fee, and become a member, it isn't a private club.

                What, then, are the prerequisites for being a private club, if filling out an application and paying a membership fee are insufficient? That's pretty much all it takes to join private clubs such as the Elks Lodge and similar clubs who operate private bars. Do they no longer qualify, and has anybody informed them of the change in their status?

                Strat

                • What do the Elks do, specifically? Do they act like a business? I don't know what the legal requirements are. What I am sure of is that, if you want to run a business, and not comply with the laws that restrict businesses and not clubs, and so you try to be a private club with indiscriminate membership, the courts will nail you.

                  • What do the Elks do, specifically?

                    Sell food and alcohol and are de facto bars/restaurants/nightclubs, for one set of examples, many of which operate at hours when a normal bar is forbidden to operate. Because they are private clubs, not public businesses.

                    The only real difference is in whose ox is being gored. In this case with Uber/Lyft it is the incestuous relationship between the taxi service industry and the government.

                    Politicians get quite testy when someone gets between them and their graft & corruption. Despite all the hand-wringi

                    • I'm not familiar with the law, but Uber is pretty obviously a business, and judges are not going to be kind to people who try to misrepresent a business. It isn't a matter of whose ox is being gored, it's a matter of judges not being completely stupid. They're on to obvious attempts to avoid the law.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

      Deny access to everyone because Uber isn't ADA compliant?

      There's a significant contingent of disabled people who believe precisely that. If they can't have it, nobody else should have it either. And if their demands put it out of business, then they're happy to have destroyed someone's livelihoods even if they never would have shopped with them to begin with.

      Making utilities and necessities accessible to the disabled is reasonable. Forcing everyone else to accommodate them is wrong. If we really gave a shit about the disabled we wouldn't build military aircraft w

      • It probably depends. If you're wheelchair bound and are unable to move into a vehicle unassisted you're already utilising wheelchair taxis, not normal taxis, so it probably wouldn't apply in those situations. Refusing to have a guide dog in the car is problematic though, as they're permitted pretty much everywhere and are quite well trained. It's not unreasonable to require drivers to take a guide dog if a blind person hails a taxi, unless they're allergic, so why should ridesharing services be permitted to

      • That's how the law works. Blame legislators. They have but one tool, and wield it when they will.

        And the tool is force.

  • ... to protect entrenched special interests from competition/audit/legal action/defunding/etc... using "health", "safety", and/or "the children" as the reason monopolies, cronycapitalism, campaign donors, and other shill like behavior has to be protected from... literally anything that would clean house.

    Name anything broken in government or the economy and I shit you not... every last bit of it is armored in babies.

    Baby armor.
    https://dviw3bl0enbyw.cloudfro... [cloudfront.net]

    And why does this work? Because voters/readers ar

  • Disabled (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Sunday July 19, 2015 @09:39AM (#50139385)
    I have to say, I'm really shocked about insensivity towards the disabled seen in this thread. This further entrenches my opinion that the people defending Uber care nothing for others, and do nothing to appreciate the situation that others find themselves in. We don't have much of a society if we turn our backs on the weakest among us.

    You are not the center of the frigging universe, as difficult as that may be for some of you to comprehend.
    • I have to say, I'm really shocked about insensivity towards the disabled seen in this thread. This further entrenches my opinion that the people defending Uber care nothing for others, and do nothing to appreciate the situation that others find themselves in. We don't have much of a society if we turn our backs on the weakest among us.

      "Turning our backs on the weakest among us" is bullet point #2 on the technobro-libertarian agenda, didn't you know that?

      "Libertarianism...IT'S A COOKBOOK!"

    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      Not the disabled in themselves, but the Taxi vs Uber (and other similar services) shows what happens once you put regulation over regulation over regulation on a system. It eventually becomes so poor, that unless you have the resources and influence of New York City, the system eventually becomes useless and expensive to the point it may as well stop existing.

      Taxis were a luxury people would use to go to the airport if they couldn't find someone to drop them off, or if they were stranded drunk on a populate

      • If Taxi's were completely a luxury then they wouldn't have been regulated in the first place. They are a service that are part of a community.
      • by nbauman ( 624611 )

        The disability acts in many countries have created situations of "if the disabled cannot have it, no one can", like ebooks in schools, and this.

        Point of fact: Disability laws in the U.S. require a reasonable accommodation.

        If a company can put braille numbers on elevator buttons for essentially no additional cost, they have to do it.

        If a landlord has a 6-story walkup building, he doesn't have to install an elevator.

        • by Shados ( 741919 )

          Yes, the law asks for that. In practice, once every single group asks for a "reasonable" accommodation, sometimes pushing the limit of the definition (but even if it wasnt), it fucking adds up. A lot.

          • by nbauman ( 624611 )

            Yes, the law asks for that. In practice, once every single group asks for a "reasonable" accommodation, sometimes pushing the limit of the definition (but even if it wasnt), it fucking adds up. A lot.

            Actually, it doesn't cost a lot.

            Myth: Providing accommodations for people with disabilities is expensive.

            Fact: The majority of workers with disabilities do not need accommodations to perform their jobs, and for those who do, the cost is usually minimal. According to the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a service from the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, 57% of accommodations cost absolutely nothing to make, while the rest typically cost only $500. Moreover, tax incentives a

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      It's not just /. people. It's MANY humans around the world. Humans suck. :(

    • I have a really bad disability known as "being born to poor parents". You can look at the research if you doubt the severity of this disability. Taxis are not compatible with my disability.

    • The argument that "business" should not have to do anything with disabled people as they create costs is particularly concerning. It means exclusion from most of the workings of the world as "business" is what is supposed to run the world. Another problem is the rather nasty attitudes about placing blame and the hyperbole about wanting to deny others their ability. It's the sort of paranoia out of Ayn Rand really, and the most aggressive people might actually be able to justify things I'd rather not contemp

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