Over 100 taxis and Uber Black limos, UberX, as well as disability advocates will join together to call for an end to the discriminatory practices of ride hailing company Uber during a protest in front of City Hall at 12:30pm, today, February 11th.
The drivers and the disability community are calling on Mayor Jim Kenney to step in to prevent discrimination by Uber’s ride-hailing service, UberX, along with competitors like Lyft. “UberX discriminates against people in wheelchairs, people with service animals, even pregnant women in labor,” said Thomas H. Earle, civil rights attorney and CEO of Liberty Resources, Inc. Nationally, Uber is brushing off numerous discrimination lawsuits by claiming the Americans with Disabilities Act does not apply to them. “This is a fight for our civil rights. Philadelphia’s disability rights community fought for wheelchair-accessible taxis for decades.”
Only six out of 1,600 taxis are currently accessible. In Philadelphia, Uber charges passengers in wheelchairs more than twice the rate charged to other passengers. UberWAV costs $3 per mile, compared to $1.10 per mile for UberX. In contrast, the law requires taxis and limos to charge the same rate to all riders with or without wheelchairs or service animals. Ride-hailing services like UberX are operating illegally in Philadelphia, with no protections for riders or drivers. Accidents with UberX vehicles may not be covered by insurance. Even in the face of multiple class-action lawsuits, Uber insists UberX drivers are contractors rather than employees, meaning drivers have no right to earn minimum wage or organize a union. Uber is lobbying hard in Harrisburg to pass Senate Bill 984, which would legalize ride-hailing companies without requiring them to play by the same rules as taxis and limos. Last year, then-Councilman Kenney sponsored a resolution calling on the state to legalize UberX and Lyft in Philadelphia. The Mayor’s spokeswoman defended Uber in January, saying, “We use them all the time.”