Concern by users of wheelchairs is growing over the recent decision by the Minneapolis City Council to remove the requirement that cab companies provide a certain percentage of accessible cabs, and a related decision to allow for transportation services by companies such as UberX and Lyft. The requirement that each cab company provide a certain number of wheelchair accessible vehicles had been in place for years.
Unfortunately, the Minneapolis Department of Regulatory Services never adequately enforced the ordinance and city leadership never provided the needed financial incentives for these small cab companies to purchase and operate wheelchair accessible vehicles.
City leadership has thrown caution and the disability community to the wind, and allowed largely unregulated companies to operate within city limits because they needed to make some concessions with the traditional cab companies. Now we don’t have a requirement for accessible vehicles. Instead, we have a voluntary incentives program that doesn’t provide the necessary financial incentives for the purchase or modification of an accessible vehicle. The city with the assistance of the Minn apolis Advisory Committee on People with Disabilities, is working to draft a “request or proposal” to explore whether or not there are any cab companies willing to participate in the voluntary incentives program.
In the meantime it’s critical that the disability community know that the Minneapolis Human Rights Act requires:
363A.11 PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS.
Subdivision 1. Full and equal enjoyment of public accommodations.
(a) It is an unfair discriminatory practice:
(1) to deny any person the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of a place of public accommodation because of race, color, creed, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, or sex, or for a taxicab company to discriminate in the access to, full utilization of, or benefit from service because of a person’s disability; or
If you experience discrimination by UberX, Lyft or a traditional cab, please contact Minnesota State Council on Disability at: firstname.lastname@example.org and give us your story with as many facts as possible.