Ride-hailing company Uber has agreed to pay more than $1.2m in compensation to tens of thousands of passengers with disabilities who were charged extra fees, US prosecutors said Monday.
The US Department of Justice case centred on disabled passengers allegedly being made to pay wait charges because they needed extra time to board vehicles.
The Department of Justice said applying wait charges to riders with disabilities amounts to unlawful discrimination.
Under the settlement, Uber announced it would give credits to more than 65,000 eligible riders that are worth double the amount of wait time fees they were ever charged.
The company also agreed to give $1.7 million to riders who complained to Uber about the fees, and $500,000 identified by the Department of Justice.
“People with disabilities should not be made to feel like second-class citizens or punished because of their disability, which is exactly what Uber’s wait time fee policy did,” Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General said.
In defence, Uber denied wrongdoing saying it was its policy to refund wait fees to disabled riders.
“It has long been our policy to refund wait time fees for riders with a disability when they alerted us that they were charged,” it said, adding that it had made changes before the lawsuit to have disabled riders’ wait time fees waived automatically when Uber is notified that they were charged.