Uber Sydney has been forced to apologised for the behaviour of two UberX drivers after one refused to take a man with a guide dog in his car, and a second driver abused the man during the trip.
The man is visually impaired lawyer Graeme Innes, who was the Human Rights Commission’s disability discrimination commissioner until the position was abolished by the Abbott government.
Speaking on ABC radio’s AM today, Innes recounted how he booked an UberX just before Easter, but when the driver turned up, he refused to take Innes because of the dog, in breach of the law.
“He said that he had a new car, it had cost him $90,000 and he wasn’t prepared to have animals in the car,” Innes told AM.
To add insult to injury, Uber then charged the blind man its standard $5 fee after the driver cancelled to booking.
He booked another car and jumped in with the dog and says the driver was less friendly and “yelled a lot and drove in a pretty scary manner”.
Innes was heading to hospital to pick up his daughter and subsequently lodged a complaint about the two drivers.
Am regular @uber user. Refused twice tonight with guide dog. They have 7 days before discrim complaint. Will report progress.
— Graeme Innes (@Graemeinnes) March 24, 2016
Uber refunded the fares, but failed to respond to Innes within the seven days he specified with regards to disciplining the drivers who’d acted illegally under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), so he escalated the complaint to the Human Rights Commission.
“I think that the matter didn’t progress up the corporate chain very quickly until I lodged the DDA complaints,” Innes told AM.
Two days later, Uber got in touch to explain what action they’d taken.
“I’m satisfied with that,” Innes said, adding that he wasn’t surprised by the incident, because he’d experienced similar situations “on a number of occasions”.
Uber issued a statement saying it had resolved the issue calling it an “isolated incident”.
“We believe that everyone should be able to get access to reliable and affordable transport, including those with accessibility needs and assistance dogs,” the company said.