Radio Facts: Lyft was hit with a class action lawsuit alleging the ride-sharing service discriminates against those in wheelchairs.

Lead plaintiffs, two wheelchair users and the Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco, allege in their class action lawsuit that Lyft does not provide wheelchair accessible vehicles in the San Francisco Bay area.

The plaintiffs claim that this violates state discrimination laws in the very area where Lyft’s operations are centered.

“Since launching its transportation service in San Francisco in May 2012, Lyft has rapidly grown into the second largest ridesharing company in the United States, seizing an ever-expanding market share from taxi companies,” says the Lyft class action lawsuit. “It is becoming a major provider of individual transportation services in over 200 cities around the United States, and now provides 375.5 million rides per year. Unfortunately, in this rapid growth, Lyft has ignored its legal responsibility to provide its transportation service to individuals who use wheelchair accessible vehicles (‘WAVs’).”

The plaintiffs allege that Lyft’s failure to provide services accessible to those who depend on wheelchairs or motorized scooters violates California civil rights laws. The plaintiffs describe the law as “California’s principal bulwark against all forms of discrimination.”

Additionally, California’s Disabled Persons Act “guarantees individuals with disabilities the same access as other members of the public to all advantages and privileges of public facilities, including transportation services,” allege the plaintiffs.

According to the Lyft class action lawsuit, Lyft could provide accessible services, but chooses not to.

“It is fully within Lyft’s power to provide accessible service,” states the complaint. “Lyft tightly controls all aspects of how both its drivers and riders use the service, mediating all payments, regulating the types of vehicles the drivers use, and offering financial incentives to ensure that there are enough drivers on the road to meet the demand for rides.”

The Lyft class action lawsuit also states that the plaintiffs are not seeking any monetary award. Instead, they want Lyft to rectify the problem and begin providing services to those who rely on wheelchairs.

“This is not a case about money,” say the plaintiffs in the Lyft class action. “This litigation is intended to halt Lyft’s ongoing discrimination against individuals with mobility disabilities.”

According to the class action lawsuit, those who rely on wheelchairs or motorized scooters have difficulty navigating the Bay Area. Lyft’s competition, Uber, offers sparse service with wheelchair accessible vehicles. Additionally, public transportation is often hard to navigate because of broken elevators. Further, public transportation is slow and does not take those with mobility disabilities to their desired destinations.

The plaintiffs seek to represent those in Alameda County, San Francisco County, and Contra Costa County, who have a mobility impairment requiring the use of wheelchairs and accessible transportation.

The lead plaintiffs are represented by Sidney Wolinsky, Rebecca Williford and Melissa Riess of Disability Rights Advocates, and Mark A. Chavez and Nance F. Becker of Chavez & Gertler LLP.

The Lyft Wheelchair Accessibility Class Action Lawsuit is Tara Ayres, et al. v. Lyft Inc., Case No. RG18896443, in the Superior Court for the State of California in and for the County of Alameda.

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