“I’m not ashamed of my disability. I endure it every day,” 24-year-old Preeti Singh tells. She makes her way around the capital on low-floor DTC buses, uses the Delhi metro and takes cabs almost every other day. But a recent experience with two separate Uber drivers left her “humiliated.” She wrote about the discrimination she faced as a woman in a wheelchair on Monday in a Facebook post that has since gone viral. Uber says they are reviewing the matter “internally.”
In a lengthy Facebook post addressed to Uber, Ms Singh describes how two separate Uber drivers “created a fuss” as her wheelchair had to be folded and kept in the car next to her.
“It doesn’t matter whether I book a sedan or a hatchback, most cabs don’t have space in the boot due to CNG cylinders. There are no carriers on top of the cars either,” the Delhi-based young professional. The only option she has is to keep her wheelchair in the car.
“Both the drivers weren’t happy about keeping the wheelchair in their cars. During my trip back home, I really felt humiliated and insulted when the driver kept saying ‘My car’s gonna get ruined’,” she writes on Facebook. She describes wiping down the car seat with a towel after the trip ended in an attempt to appease the driver.
“I pay for your services, no one’s doing any charity then why is it that I still have to feel this way just because I’m a wheelchair user. Always praying that the driver doesn’t create a fuss about it. Of course I’m going to go with my wheelchair, nobody asks anyone to keep their legs behind when travelling in a cab, why me?” she asks on Facebook.
Ms Singh adds she chose to remain quiet after the first incident. “I didn’t want to ruin my day,” she sighs. Unfortunately, she’s used to this kind of reaction. “People are just not sensitized,” she says. Which is why when it happened twice in one day, Ms Singh felt compelled to bring it to Uber’s attention.
“I have the guts to travel around Delhi. I go out alone all the time,” Ms Singh tells. “But I felt really humiliated this time and didn’t want to let it go.”
Read Ms Singh’s entire Facebook post below:
This post has been long overdue!
I’m Preeti Singh, a loyal Uber customer who happens to be a person with disability. So I’m a wheelchair user apparently.
Talking about the recent event I used your services twice yesterday(You can get the details from my account, I’ll share the details once I’m contacted), both the drivers weren’t happy about keeping the wheelchair in their cars. During my trip back home, I really felt humiliated and insulted when the driver kept saying ‘my car’s gonna get ruined’. I’m a very positive person but I did loose it a little. As I reached my destination I called my brother to clean his car with a cloth just so he never says that again to anyone.
Honestly, this is not a new issue and I’ve tried complaining/suggesting about this issue in my earlier emails.
In Delhi, CNG cars are a compulsion(mostly) but such is not the case with carriers.There is no place in the boots, there are no carriers and the drivers don’t want to keep it on the seats! Even when they do most of the times it comes as a favour or such way they make me feel about it!
Be it UberGo or UberX(not even considering POOL here), the issue is the same.
I pay for your services, no ones doing any charity than why is it that I still have to feel this way just because I’m a wheelchair user. Always praying that the driver doesn’t create a fuss about it. Of course I’m going to go with my wheelchair, nobody asks anyone to keep their legs behind when travelling in a cab, why me?
Uber does provide the best service and I’m not saying that every driver is the same but there should be a system to avoid such issues!
-I cant even blame any cab driver when they’re not trained in this regards.
-In your “accessibility” section there is no way I can mention I’m a wheelchair user.
– You guys discontinued your temporary project UberAssist.
Things you could do-
1. Training their drivers
2. Upgrading your accessibility section so that its not just there merely for the beautification
3. Ensuring boot/carriers in the cabs sent to such clients to enable them to keep their wheelchair
4. Never let their customer feel humiliated for being who they are!
5. Stop saying that my feedback is valuable, when you do nothing about it!
This was my last trip with Uber, I hope no one feels this way ever so I’ll be posting this both-on my personal profile as well as your official page!
“Ideally, I want a way to let Uber know I travel with a wheelchair and for them to send me a car with a boot or a carrier. Perhaps they can even have cars with ramps so I don’t need any assistance,” Ms Singh tells. “But first,” she insists, “people need to be sensitised. Driver training is so important.”
“We sensitise all our driver partners to treat all riders equally and without discrimination of any sort… Uber has a zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination of any kind,” an Uber spokesperson tells. “We have been in contact with this rider to offer our support. We are internally reviewing the matter and will take appropriate actions based on the outcome of our review.”
While Uber has refunded her for her trips, Ms Singh tells the purpose of her post isn’t to take action against the two drivers, but to get Uber to review its driver training and spark a much-needed conversation about making public spaces more accessible.
Ms Singh’s Facebook post comes on a day when Uber is being sued by disability rights groups in the United States for “pervasive and ongoing discrimination.”