Uber has won preliminary approval of a class action by blind riders because Uber drivers refused to give them rides with their service dogs. A second settlement will cost $28.5 million to resolve Uber’s imposition of a “Safe Rides Fee” without telling riders in advance.
The company agreed to pay $225,000 to the National Federation of the Blind over three and one-half years and, if the deal extends for a fourth year, Uber will pay an additional $75,000. The three men who sued, Michael Pedersen, Michael Kelly and Michael Hingson, will receive $15,000 each to resolve their damages claims.
The settlement, approved July 6 by Magistrate Judge Nathaniel Cousins, Uber drivers will be blocked from receiving trip requests from riders until they acknowledge and agree through the Uber software application that they understand Uber’s new service animal policy. The drivers must agree to transport service animals. If they refuse a rider in person Uber will fire them.
The company also agreed to provide information on compliance with the new policy to an independent monitor to guarantee the deal’s terms have been applied.
In the Safe Rides Fee case, six Uber riders sued saying Uber imposed the fee without informing them and allegedly misrepresented its effort to keep riders safe.
Each class member is entitled to 82-cents. The Safe Rides Fee was $1.12.
Uber is also barred from charging the fee in the future and from advertising itself as having the “safest ride on the road.”
Case: National Federation of the Blind v. Uber, No. 14-cv-4086