Lyft settles disabled discrimination claims in California

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lyft Inc. has agreed to settle allegations that it violated federal law when some of its drivers refused to give rides to people using folding walkers or collapsible wheelchairs in the Los Angeles area, the U.S. attorney's office announced Monday.

The investigation was launched after a man who uses a collapsible wheelchair filed at least 12 complaints that he was rudely treated or denied lifts, and a veteran who lost both legs in combat alleged that he was denied a ride because he had a collapsible wheelchair, according to a U.S. attorney's office statement.

The government alleged that Lyft violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. In its settlement agreement, Lyft denied that it is subject to the act, which specifies certain transportation services. Lyft also denied discriminating against anyone.

However, the San Francisco-based ride-sharing firm agreed to pay damages ranging from $4,000 to $30,000 to four riders and also will pay a $40,000 penalty, revise its policies, upgrade driver notification of Lyft's wheelchair policies and provide a complaint system “with punishment including possible termination," according to the U.S. attorney's statement.

“Lyft agreed to refund charges and provide $10 credits to riders who make plausible complaints of discrimination under the company’s revised wheelchair policy," the statement added.

Lyft said it is committed to being inclusive and welcoming.

“We’re proud that many people with disabilities who were previously underserved by existing transportation options now use Lyft as a reliable, safe, and affordable way to get around,” the company said in a statement.