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DOJ sues Uber for allegedly overcharging disabled people

The Justice Department is suing Uber, accusing the ride-sharing company of overcharging people with disabilities. 

The DOJ announced Wednesday it has filed a lawsuit against Uber, saying the company has charged "wait time" fees to passengers who need more time to get into a vehicle due to a disability. The policy charging wait time fees starting two minutes after an Uber driver arrives at a pickup location was rolled out in 2016. Now, the DOJ alleges that by failing to "reasonably modify its wait time fee policy for passengers who, because of disability, need more than two minutes to get in an Uber car," the company has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

"Passengers with disabilities who need additional boarding time are entitled to access ridesharing services without discrimination," said acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Stephanie M. Hinds. "This lawsuit seeks to assist people with disabilities to live their lives with independence and dignity, as the ADA guarantees."  

The DOJ wants a court to order Uber to modify its wait time fee policy, as well as pay a civil penalty and damages to those who were "subjected to the illegal wait time fees."

Uber called the DOJ's lawsuit "surprising and disappointing" in a statement to Axios, saying it already refunds wait time fees for riders with disabilities when alerted to this and that as of last week, "any rider who certifies they are disabled will have fees automatically waived." Uber added, "We fundamentally disagree that our policies violate the ADA and will keep improving our products to support everyone's ability to easily move around their communities."