Uber has agreed to pay more than $2m (£1.68m) to settle claims brought by the US government that its wait time fee discriminates against customers with disabilities.
The firm also agreed to waive the fee for disabled users. More than 1,000 people had complained about the fee, which often starts when it takes more than two minutes to get into the car.
Uber said its policy was to refund waiting fees for disabled riders. In settling the lawsuit, the ride-hailing company denied wrongdoing.
“It has long been our policy to refund wait time fees for disabled riders after they alerted us that they were charged,” the company said, adding that it did not issue wait time fees for disabled riders before the lawsuit was automatically pardoned when Uber is informed that they were charged.
According to a lawsuit filed in November by the US Department of Justice, Uber began charging wait time fees in some cities in 2016, eventually expanding the practice.
The company said the average fee at the time was less than 60 cents.
Under the terms of the deal, Uber agreed to pay more than $1.7m to the approximately 1,000 riders who complained and more than $500,000 to some of those identified by the Justice Department.
Officials said the agreement would also provide “hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in compensation” for the more than 65,000 people who have signed up for the waiver.
“People with disabilities should not be made to feel like second-class citizens or punished because of their disability,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said in a statement, which is part of Uber’s wait time fee policy.
This isn’t the first time Uber has found itself in hot water over disability issues.