That’s three lawsuits that I know of.
A coalition of Texas disability advocates sued ride-share companies Uber and Lyft on Thursday as part of dozens of lawsuits filed around the state ahead of the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Uber and Lyft are up and coming in terms of transportation companies, and they don’t really have any means to provide wheelchair accessibility,” said plaintiff David Wittie, of the advocacy group ADAPT of Texas. “They are socially irresponsible and not accessible and equivalent for people with disabilities.”
Wittie said denials of services to disabled Texans led ADAPT and the Texas Civil Rights Project to target the companies, which connect interested riders with willing drivers via smartphone applications.
The suits were filed in Travis County, but theoretically could affect the rest of the state, Wittie said. Uber and Lyft operate – albeit illegally – in several Texas cities, including Houston.
Houston City Council is scheduled to vote next week on regulations proposed by Mayor Annise Parker that would allow them to operate legally if they acquire permits and carry commercial liability insurance, among other requirements. Taxi and limousine companies oppose the rules because they oppose the ride-sharing companies, and have filed federal lawsuits of their own to stop the companies.
Last month, three wheelchair-using Texans in Houston and San Antonio sued Uber and Lyft in federal court for alleged discrimination under the ADA, according to the Courthouse News Service.
Also sued Thursday as part of the coordinated effort was Austin-based Yellow Cab, which Wittie said routinely makes people with disabilities wait hours before sending an accessible taxi. Wittie said he has experienced that. The company did not return a telephone call seeking comment.
Here’s what I had on the earlier federal lawsuit. It was reported in Courthouse News and pretty much noplace else, so if it’s news to you, I understand. I suppose it’s possible that lawsuit could get combined with this one, but I’m just guessing. There’s also the lawsuit filed by cab companies in an effort to enjoin Uber and Lyft from operating in Houston. Am I missing anything? All this is happening as Council gets set to (maybe) take up the vehicles for hire matter again next week. I can’t wait to see what happens next.