FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Monday, May 8, 2017
Category: 
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind Launches Ridesharing Testing Program

Organization to Monitor Uber, Lyft Efforts to Accommodate Service Animals

Baltimore, Maryland (May 8, 2017): The National Federation of the Blind today announced the launch of a program to test the effectiveness of ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft's efforts to accommodate passengers with guide dogs and other service animals. The NFB seeks the participation of blind people and other service animal users, or those who travel with them, across the United States and in Puerto Rico. Volunteers will be asked to fill out an online questionnaire to indicate whether or not they were denied service because of their service animals or if they were treated in a discriminatory or disrespectful manner. Both positive and negative experiences should be reported. Pursuant to agreements with the National Federation of the Blind, both Uber and Lyft are taking steps to prevent discrimination against, and improve service to, riders with service animals. The agreements require the National Federation of the Blind to provide feedback to the companies over a three-to-five-year period. The program is open to both members and non-members of the National Federation of the Blind. The online questionnaire is available in both English and Spanish.

Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "Companies like Uber and Lyft are empowering blind people to live the lives we want by providing fast, convenient and affordable transportation. This empowerment can only be real and complete, however, if all blind people, including those who use guide dogs, are able to access these transportation options when and where they need them, without fear that they will be refused service. My wife Melissa uses a guide dog, and consequently our family has occasionally experienced the refusal of transportation services, which violates the legal and civil rights of the blind and other people with disabilities. The National Federation of the Blind applauds the commitment by Uber and Lyft to improve their service to service animal users, and we look forward to working with these companies to ensure that their efforts to do so are meaningful and effective. I urge all service animal users to use our new online questionnaire often so that we can provide comprehensive feedback throughout the terms of our agreements with Uber and Lyft."

For more information about the program and to access the online questionnaire, please visit www.nfb.org/rideshare.