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Uber Questioned Over Claims Drivers Refused To Pick-Up Customers With Guide Dogs

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Guide Dog (Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images)

Guide Dog (Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Ride service company Uber is being questioned over claims that drivers in San Francisco have failed to pick up passengers who had service animals.

According to a report by Reuters, San Francisco regulators and the National Federation of the Blind are looking into the claims. The federation said it has reached out to members to notify them that two law firms are investigating a series of such claims.

The National Federation of the Blind plans to air its concerns with Uber next week. “It’s a breach of civil rights,” Michael Hingson, who is on the California board of directors for the federation, told Reuters. “Uber ought to be required to obey the same rules as any other transportation service.”

A Uber spokesperson said “we take this feedback very seriously and will deactivate driver partners who refuse to transport a rider with a service animal.”

One legally blind customer, Jonathan Lyens, has already filed a complaint with the company. It is unclear if the driver involved in that case has been deactivated.

This is just the latest problem for Uber in San Francisco. Sved Muzzafar of Union City, who identified himself as working for the ride service company, struck and killed 6-year-old Sophia Liu on New Year’s Eve at Polk and Ellis streets.

Liu’s family sued Muzzafar and Uber, but the company said they are not liable for the fatal collision, citing the fact that Muzzafar was an independent contractor, and not an “employee” of the company.

The crash in part has also highlighted the need for changes to insurance policies for drivers with ride service companies, in the case of liability for traffic collisions.

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