Uber Technologies Inc. has reached a multimillion-dollar settlement on federal charges that the company discriminated against riders with disabilities by charging them wait-time fees for the extra time it took for them to enter a vehicle. Uber
must credit the accounts of more than 65,000 riders who signed up for the wait-time waiver for double the amount of fees they were charged, which could total hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release Monday. The company must also pay nearly $1.74 million to more than 1,000 riders who complained about being charged wait-time fees, and $500,000 more to others harmed as identified by the government. The deal calls for Uber to bear the costs of paying a third party to administer the settlement funds, and the company must also pay a $50,000 civil penalty to the U.S. government.
The settlement resolves a lawsuit the Justice Department brought in November, accusing the ride-hailing giant of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. Uber’s practice is to charge a wait-time fee two minutes after a driver arrives at a pickup location. The lawsuit alleged that Uber charged a fee even when it was clear that passengers needed extra time because of a disability. Uber must advertise the wait-time fee waiver program and train customer service representatives about the program and refund process, according to the settlement. “This agreement sends a strong message that Uber and other ride-sharing companies will be held accountable if their services discriminate against people with disabilities,” said Assistant Attorney G …