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PPG Member and Her Assistance Dog Let Down by Taxi Services

Uber is a taxi service that 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 easily access the most local driver and be assured that they can get 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, a member of the Pet Professional Guild, and others (see below). It is illegal for Uber to refuse access to assistance dog teams, as stated within the company policy.

Ruby, who also serves on PPG’s Inclusivity Division and Assistance Animal Division, has taken to recording her interactions to document what is happening and the treatment from drivers, from claiming allergies to just driving off. These types of interactions are deeply distressing for Ruby and other assistance dog teams, some of whom include vulnerable adults who need their assistance dogs to function and 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.

These concerns with taxi services are not localized to the British Isles. A search on Google revealed several stories about rideshare companies denying access to service dog/assistance dog teams. Here are a few examples from North America:

Fox6 News Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Women Denied by Uber, Lyft Over Service Dogs

News Center Maine, Portland: Mainers With Guide Dogs Say They’re Being Discriminated Against by Uber

CBC News, Manitoba, Canada: Blind Woman Says She Was Denied Ride Twice in a Row by Uber Drivers Because of Guide Dog

A lawsuit involving both Uber and Lyft was also filed in 2022:

First Uber, Now Lyft Sued Over Service Animal–Related Ride Cancellations

Please support those who need help. If you are aware of any of these types of issues with Uber or Lyft, please contact the companies and let them know.

Tasha Attwood and Christina de Juan, both of PPG’s Assistance Animal Division, and Niki Tudge provided input for this article.