In an effort to resolve allegations of Uber and Lyft driver discrimination against passengers with service animals, the National Federation of the Blind recently entered into landmark settlement agreements with both rideshare companies.
Terms of the agreements require Uber and Lyft to revise their policies and procedures to include additional training for employees and contractors, and contract termination for drivers who knowingly or repeatedly deny rides to individuals with service animals. The agreements also include requirements for data gathering and testing, so that the NFB can assess Uber and Lyft’s efforts to provide equal access to riders with service animals.
On May 8, 2017, the NFB began conducting nationwide testing to ensure that riders with service animals are neither denied transportation nor treated disrespectfully by Lyft and Uber. To best assess whether Uber and Lyft are complying with their agreement terms, we need to gather monthly data nationwide for the duration of the agreements. This regular testing will help ensure that the NFB meets its legal obligations as per the settlements.
If you are an Uber or Lyft customer who has a service animal or travels with someone who has a service animal, please complete the Uber and Lyft survey as often as you can.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can be a tester?
Any Uber or Lyft customer who has a service animal or travels with someone who has a service animal can be a tester. Testers can be NFB members or nonmembers.
What is needed from testers?
After ordering or completing a ride, the tester would promptly complete the online questionnaire. Testers would repeat this process as often as possible, monthly at minimum.
What is the link to the testing tool?
How do I know if Uber or Lyft is available where I live?
What questions does the testing tool ask?
The online questionnaire will prompt you to enter your name and email address, the date and time of your Lyft or Uber ride, whether that ride was canceled because of your service animal, whether the driver treated you disrespectfully, and whether you were charged a cleaning fee because of your service animal, among other information.
What will happen with the testing data?
The NFB and counsel will use your testing feedback to assess whether Uber and Lyft are meeting their settlement agreement terms and to urge greater compliance where needed.
What are the dates for the testing program?
The NFB’s Uber and Lyft testing program began May 8, 2017, and will continue for the three- to five-year duration of the agreements.
Is testing nationwide?
The NFB’s Uber and Lyft testing program will be administered nationwide, including in Puerto Rico. There will be a special push to gather Lyft data from targeted municipalities: Baltimore, Seattle, Dallas-Fort Worth, Boston, New York, Nashville, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, and the District of Columbia.
Can I report on a Lyft or Uber ride in a state other than where I live?
Yes, testers are encouraged to complete the online questionnaire for any Lyft and Uber experience, regardless of the location.
If I’m denied transportation by Uber or Lyft because of a service animal, should I also register a complaint with the company?
Yes, in addition to filling out the NFB’s online questionnaire, we also ask that you report discrimination to the rideshare company via the company’s website, app, or by phone. The agreements require Uber and Lyft to investigate reports and, if appropriate, take action against the drivers.
Learn how to file complaints directly with the rideshare providers by reading these Guidelines for Effective Uber and Lyft Service Animal Complaints.
Please keep in mind the following when using rideshare and submitting complaints to Uber or Lyft:
- Help the driver know it is not a pet. Tell your driver via text, phone call, or in person that you are traveling with your service animal.
- When filing a complaint, tell Uber or Lyft about any information that would prove that your driver knew the dog was a service animal. For example, if the incident was witnessed by another person or captured on video, tell the rideshare company that you are willing to share that information. If possible, provide contact information for the witness or a copy of videos or other evidence.
- Report all forms of discrimination. If you were denied transportation, treated disrespectfully, or charged a cleaning fee because of your service animal, please report this to Uber or Lyft and to the NFB via our questionnaire.
We invite you to read:
- “Uber and Lyft Agree to Improving Service for Riders with Service Animals” (May 2017 Braille Monitor)
- Lyft Testing—Year One (PDF)
- Lyft Testing—Year Two (PDF)
- NFB-Lyft Settlement Agreement and Addendum (PDF)
- NFB-Uber Settlement Agreement (PDF)
For more information, please contact Valerie Yingling, legal program coordinator, at 410-659-9314, extension 2440, or firstname.lastname@example.org.