A Chicago-based disability rights group on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit against Uber Technologies Inc alleging the ride-hailing company has violated wheelchair accessibility laws.
The lawsuit, filed by Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago and three disabled people associated with the group, alleges San Francisco-based Uber fails to provide vehicles equipped to handle wheelchairs. It seeks an order to bring the company into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Out of millions of rides, the company has provided just a handful to disabled users requiring wheelchair accessible vehicles since launching in the city in 2011, the lawsuit claims.
Uber's "service to people who require wheelchair accessible vehicles ranges from token to non-existent," court documents said.
"That position threatens a return to the isolation and segregation that the disability rights movement has fought to overcome," the documents added.
According to the lawsuit, from September 2011, when Uber began operating in Chicago, to August 2015, the company provided just 14 rides to motorised wheelchair users requiring wheelchair accessible vehicles. It did this by connecting riders with wheelchair accessible taxi services, a blog from the company said.
By comparison, court documents said, Uber provided nearly 5.5 million rides from April to June 2015 in Chicago, the third largest US city.
"We take this issue seriously and are committed to increasing mobility and freedom for all riders and drivers, including those members of our communities who are disabled," Uber said in a statement in response to the lawsuit.
Taxi operators in Chicago with more than 20 cabs must maintain at least 5 per cent as accessible vehicles, according to city ordinance. The city also provides financial incentives for wheelchair accessible taxis, according to Reuters.