ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — An Albany woman claims she was ignored and basically left stranded by an Uber driver she had hired. She suspects it’s because she is disabled, and disability advocates say she is far from alone.
Tamelia Fritz says it was an Uber driver she had requested for a ride home from school.
“I was flagging him down, and I said, ‘Hey, I’m right here.’ And he just drove right by,” she recalled.
“Did you try to contact him after that?” NEWS10 ABC reporter Anya Tucker asked.
“No answer,” Fritz responded. “He didn’t pick up.”
But she says that didn’t stop him from charging her.
“He still charged me $7.50 for a cancellation fee,” she said.
“Has this happened to you before?” Anya asked.
She says three times drivers she hired through Uber arrived and then left her stranded.
“Why do you think this is?” Anya asked.
“Think he saw the walker,” Fritz responded as she pointed to the walker next to her.
“Do you see this a lot?” Anya asked Katie Carroll, the Director for Advocacy with the Center for Disability Rights in Albany.
“Yes,” she said. “Ever since the beginning.”
Carroll says she has received many complaints regarding ride-sharing drivers, who refuse rides to people with disabilities, which she says is in direct violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
“To be fair to the drivers, it’s typically their own vehicle, which more than likely isn’t equipped with a lift for a wheelchair,” Anya said.
“They are a provider of transportation,” Carroll said. “They are a transportation solution, so they need to make themselves accessible to anyone who would use their service.”
Anya contacted Uber, who told her they would look into Fritz’s claims.
The company’s policy states that drivers must follow all state and federal laws, including accommodating riders using walkers, canes, folding wheelchairs or other assistive devices.
In the meantime, Fritz says she has successfully fought to get that $7.50 back and to also have her voice heard.
“Because everyone needs a ride.”