Pet Professional Guild Member Let Down by Services That Promise Otherwise
Uber is a taxi service which is accessible through an app. Within the app you can book your driver and also let them know if you have an assistance dog. The idea is to help people to easily access the most local driver and have reassurance that they can go to their destination, with their assistance dogs, in peace.
However, some Uber drivers over the last five years have been refusing access to Ruby Welsford and Millie Gee (and others- see below). It is illegal for Uber to refuse access to assistance dog teams, as stated within the company policy.
Ruby has taken to recording her interactions to document what is happening and the treatment from drivers, from claiming allergies to driving off. These types of interactions are deeply distressing for Ruby, Millie and other assistance dog teams, some of whom include vulnerable adults who need their assistance dogs to function and to stay safe both out in the community and at home.
The One Show has highlighted this issue and although Uber has apologized and said that in the future drivers who do this will be removed from their service, the One Show and certain assistance dog teams do not feel that this is enough to reliably offer safety. Watch the short (5-minute) One Show clip here: https://fb.watch/i1mfYPTwRX/
These concerns with taxi services are not localized to the British Isles. A search on Google brings up several complaints and a pending lawsuit. Googling will reveal several stories about rideshare companies denying access to service dog/assistance dog teams. Here are a few examples from North America:
- Women denied by Uber, Lyft over service dogs
- Mainers with service dogs say they’re being discriminated against by Uber
- Blind woman says she was denied ride twice in a row by Uber drivers because of guide dog
And news about a 2022 lawsuit involving both Uber and Lyft:
Please support those who need help. If you are aware of any of these types of issues with Uber or Lyft, please do write to the companies and let them know.
About the Authors
The Pet Professional Guild Assistance Animal Division is a volunteer committee which includes a broad representation of pet professionals with a variety of skills and interests specific to assistance animals. Assistance animal trainers and professional organizations are encouraged to join PPG for professional and educational support, advice, and materials that help promote force-free interactions with animals who help people. Pet owners can join for free, and as members will have access to additional pages on our website (along with some amazing vendor discounts)! We are an inclusive group that prioritizes humane treatment and welfare of both people and assistance animals.
Tasha Attwood, Christina de Juan and Niki Tudge provided input for this article.