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Uber and Lyft: A Service Dog Partner’s Guide

Uber and Lyft have come on the market as an alternative to traditional taxi services. Using a smartphone app, these services instead allow anyone (after initial screening) to use their personal vehicles to provide rides to those who request them through the app. One of the biggest perks of using these services, is that they can hail, track and pay within an easy-to-use app.

It’s important to remember that all rideshare and taxi services employ individuals who — like anyone else — have their own opinions, prejudices and are responsible for their own actions. The good news is that both Uber and Lyft are addressing driver’s behavior and are helping create a more educated public.

A bumpy start to the journey

In 2014 the National Federation of the Blind sued Uber, because of continuous complaints of those who are blind not being able to bring their service dog with them during an Uber ride. Lyft, has also had similar problems, leaving some simply fed up with the accessibility of their services.

Uber and Lyft are working to educate drivers

Uber and Lyft have been actively working to improve support for Service Dogs and their handlers by providing resources and educating drivers about service dogs. Below is a guide to everything you need to know about Uber, Lyft and Service Dogs. We hope that it assists you and your partner in your travels.

uberUber

According to Uber’s Service Animal Policy (to read the full document click here), Uber drivers cannot deny or discriminate against those with service animals.  In fact, driver-partners who engage in discriminatory conduct will lose their ability to use the app. Uber also makes clear that driver-partners were made aware of their legal obligation and agreed to provide services to riders with disabilities when they signed up for Uber. This means that drivers cannot deny service dogs because of allergies, religious objections, or because they are scared of animals. Drivers can also not charge riders for any shedding from their service dog, which is a relief for many who often hear this common complaint.

If Uber riders do experience difficulties or are denied a ride because of their service dog, Uber suggests using complaint screen which is available through both the details screen and the account menu button. After going through this process, an Uber representative will respond to you within a week to let you know about their investigation into the issue, as well as the outcome. In the instance where a driver-partner’s contractual relationship with Uber is terminated because of their refusal to transport the rider because of a service dog, the rider will be granted a credit.

In regards to accessibility and Uber, here are some other points that might be of interest to you:

  • For Those With Blind or Low-Vision- Uber offers wireless, braille display and voice over iOS
  • For Those Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing- Uber offers visible and vibrating alerts in app and they continue to do updates as necessary.
  • For Those Who Have Ambulatory Disabilities- UberWAV is in the pilot stages, but will offer people access to wheelchair accessible vehicles. This is already available in many cities and hopefully more soon (Maybe you will consider this if you have a wheelchair accessible vehicle to offer?).
  • Uber Assist- This is your go to if you are needing some extra assistance. Uber Assist partners you with those who have been given specialized training.

To learn more about the differences between UberWAV and UberAssist in order to determine which is best for you, click here.

Lyft

Since Lyft is slightly newer on the market, their resources regarding Service Dogs are not as thorough, however will be soon. Lyft’s Service Animal Policy (to read the full document click here), clearly states that drivers using the Lyft platform can not deny or discriminate against passengers with Service Dogs. They have also made their drivers aware that Service Animal teams are not required to wear a special tag, be registered or display any other visual proof of their legitimacy.

The great thing about Lyft is that they offer a Critical Response Line should you need assistance. If a rider ever experiences difficulties transporting a Service Dog, Lyft is available to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Lyft has outlined in its service animal policy, that concerns such as this are a valid reason to make use of the line. Lyft is also made accessible with VoiceOver technology. You can learn more about it’s benefits here.

Anything Pawsable looks forward to following the developments with Uber and Lyft as they continue to build their technologies and help educate their drivers. What have your experiences been with Uber and Lyft so far? Which do you prefer?

Main image courtesy of Quote Catalog

 

Learn more about voluntary, community-defined training and behavior standards for handlers and their Service Dogs at USSDR.org

 

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Comments

  • Enough February 14, 2017

    That last…” just in case you missed it” has no place in this article. I’m sick and tired of protesting individuals and anyone that writes anything putting the 2 dimes in. Let’s just move on with life please.

  • Tenzin February 15, 2017

    I had a HUGE problem in NYC getting legitimate NYC taxi drivers to stop let alone let me ride, because of my service dog. I should have written down cab numbers & sued but I was so stressed trying to get a cab. also had problems with airport shuttles in parking lots and airport rides. When I travel, my service dog is always wearing his vest & his government issued service tags & i have his papers. WTF is wrong with people?

    • Michael Overholser January 12, 2018

      What government issued service tags? The ADA specifically states that identifying items such as vests/ID’s etc. are not required for service animals, so why would a government agency issue a specific tag?

  • Lisa March 26, 2017

    I have had major problems with Uber drivers refusing to stop when they see my dog.

    In Portland last year, my husband and I were in a restaurant. He ran out to grab the Uber, I finished paying the bill and came out. The driver saw my hearing dog and I and refused to let us in the car. When it was reported, it was clear that Uber just did not care.

  • Mona pardew October 27, 2017

    These people need to wake up to avoid lawsuits.disabled person’s have rights too.

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