The U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday it filed a lawsuit against Uber, alleging the company charged disabled passengers a "wait time" fee when they were slow to enter their rides.
The fees were part of a broader policy of charging passengers if their ride hadn't begun two minutes after a car arrived for a pickup, but the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it failed "to reasonably modify" the policy for passengers who need more time due to disabilities, the Justice Department said.
Riders, for instance, might "use a wheelchair or walker that needs to be broken down and stored in the car," while blind Uber users "may need additional time to safely walk from the pickup location to the car itself."
The U.S. is seeking a modification of the policy and training on the ADA for both staff and drivers, as well as damages and penalties. Uber said it put in place a new policy last week to waive fees for "any rider who certifies they are disabled" and that users could dispute the charges. "We fundamentally disagree that our policies violate the ADA," the company said in a statement.
Lyft settled a separate suit last year in which the DOJ alleged the company also violated the ADA when drivers turned down riders with disabilities.
This story has been updated with Uber's statement in response to the lawsuit.