Earlier this year, in May 2016, the popular ridesharing services, Uber and Lyft, stopped serving Austin after the city passed an ordinance requiring fingerprint background checks by way of a contentious ballot initiative. Many ridesharing start-ups saw this as an opportunity to fill the vacuum that Uber and Lyft left behind.
Unfortunately, several of these new ridesharing services are not ensuring that their mobile apps are accessible to blind customers who use screen reader technology. Members of the National Federation of the blind of Texas reached out to two of these services, Get Me and Fare, in hopes of helping these companies fix their apps and open up a market share that heavily depends on these sort of transportation services. Sadly, these companies were not responsive to making accessibility a priority for their eager blind customers.
As a last resort, TRE Legal and Disability Rights Texas filed complaints in federal court against Get Me and Fare, challenging their practices under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Texas state law.
The press release here further describes the filing.
TRE Legal and Disability Rights Texas are interested in speaking with blind people in Austin who are experiencing access issues with these new ridesharing services as we continue our investigation. Blind individuals should contact us with relevant information.
Blind people enjoy greater independence when technology is accessible; and making mobile apps accessible is not difficult or expensive. Let’s keep Austin weird and accessible for all.