Balancing the Field

Even though human beings are, by far, the smartest species to ever walk the earth, they remain as prone as ever to making mistakes. Now, some of these mistakes do go on to teach us a lot, but at the same time, there are always a few that can go on to cause irreparable damage as well. With such a volatile dynamic in place, anyone would naturally prefer to have a defensive cover of some sort, and we will find that very cover once we bring dedicated regulatory bodies into the fold. Having a well-defined authority across each and every area was a game-changer, as it instantly covered up a lot of our shortcomings. The loopholes, however, were exposed once again when technology and its layered nature took over the scene. You see, the creation’s malleable nature will give people an unprecedented shot at exploiting others for their own benefit. This expectantly nullified our entire progress, but fortunately enough, it won’t spell the end of regulatory powers. Instead, by learning how to better supervise technology, these governing forces will make a strong comeback. The same pattern has been evident over the recent past, and if anything, it should only become stronger on the back of a settlement involving Uber.

Ride-hailing giant, Uber has formally reached a settlement with Department of Justice in relation to a lawsuit that accused the company of discriminating against disabled passengers.  To give you some context, the whole controversy actually stemmed from the company’s wait fee policy, which adds additional fees when a passenger takes more than two minutes to board the car. While the policy was designed to ensure an efficient overall operation, it conveniently overlooked the complications of all the disabled people who might be forced to take longer than two minutes in boarding the cab, thus prompting a full-fledged lawsuit. As a part of the settlement, Uber will now credit double the total wait fees levied on over 65,000 disabled riders already identified by company’s programs. Beyond that, it has also promised to commit more than $2 million to funds for other affected individuals.

“We’re pleased to have reached this agreement,” said Uber representative Carissa Simons. “We are always working to improve accessibility for all users and encourage riders with a disability to utilize our self-declaration form to have wait time fees waived.”

Talk about how an affected user can claim their refund, they just need to apply for it through Uber’s help system and the company will take care of the rest. Nevertheless, despite finding a middle ground here, Uber shouldn’t expect to be completely off the hook. This is because the company, along with other ride-hailing services, has consistently failed to fulfill other similar obligations such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, which mandates any transportation systems built after 1990 to provide equal access to people with disabilities. The failure on Uber and other companies’ part here predicates upon many elements, including a serious lack of availability when it comes to wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

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