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How to Order an Uber or Lyft with a Service Animal

Posted by: RideGuru Team Apr 15, 2019
Updated Jan 16, 2020

1 comment

How to Order an Uber or Lyft with a Service Animal

Service animals are life savers, literally. So many people rely on their service animal to make it through their days. These hard working animals are legally allowed to go almost everywhere their human goes because of the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA. Right now, there are about 500,000 service dogs working in the United States; and that number doesn’t even include all the other types of service animals. Uber and Lyft have become immensely popular over the last few years, but how do you navigate these platforms with a service animal? 

It’s important to know what a service animal is. Today, a service animal can be a number of things. Dogs, miniature horses, parrots, ferrets, ducks, and monkeys have all been trained to help people. The most common service animal is a dog. Service animals are trained to help people. There are seeing eye dogs for the blind. Some service animals help complete tasks by opening doors, retrieving items, and more. For certain illnesses, dogs can be trained to sense a seizure and alert their human in the case of epilepsy. The list goes on and on. Special training and registration is legally required to make an animal a service animal. Right now, the ADA only recognizes dogs and miniature horses as service animals. 

The pet policy for Uber and Lyft is pretty much the same. Drivers are not employed by the companies; they’re independent contractors. Pets, in general, are allowed by the companies, but the drivers have discretion and the final say if they take pets or not. Good rule of thumb: after ordering the ride, call or text your driver to let them know you have a pet to see if they’re ok with giving a ride to your furry friend. 

The pet policy is one thing, however, service animals is completely different. By law, Uber and Lyft drivers are required to give your service dog a ride. Miniature horses are another story because of their size. If you have a service dog, you cannot be turned away by an Uber or Lyft driver; that is illegal. 

The ADA does not allow Uber and Lyft drivers - or anyone else public or private entities - to ask for documentation of that person’s disability or the dog’s certification as a service animal. Dogs do not have to wear a vest or anything else identifying it as a service animal. Drivers must take the person’s word. There are two questions that can be asked: 1) Is the animal required due to disability? 2) What has the animal been trained to do or perform? Any other questions are illegal. There is a common misconception that dogs used for emotional support, companionship, crime deterrence, well-being, or comfort are service animals, but they are not covered by the ADA’s definition of a service animal.

If you have a service dog, you can absolutely bring it along on your next Uber or Lyft ride because of the ADA. Otherwise, contact your driver to see if they accept pets.

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    ccooke
    Driver
     1 year ago

    As a long-time Guide Dog user of 38 years, I am used to taking my service dog everywhere. I was thrilled to order Ubers or Lyfts for the convenience, efficiency and great price. However, over the last 6 years, I have become quite disillusioned. Even though Uber and Lyft routinely provide info to their drivers on service animal policies, drivers are often still not abiding by the rules. These are often drivers from other countries who out of cultural misunderstanding, unfamiliarity, or just plain obstinance, are unwilling to take my guide dog. (Americans are familiar with the ADA and I can count on one hand the number of problems I have had with US-born drivers.) As for foreign drivers, I can Count a couple dozen or more incidents including:  drivers driving away, verbal abuse, out-and-out refusal even when told they would be reported; drivers asking me to put my dog in the back, etc... it goes on and on. I used to let them know, via text, that I had a service animal, but I notice…

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    As a long-time Guide Dog user of 38 years, I am used to taking my service dog everywhere. I was thrilled to order Ubers or Lyfts for the convenience, efficiency and great price. However, over the last 6 years, I have become quite disillusioned. Even though Uber and Lyft routinely provide info to their drivers on service animal policies, drivers are often still not abiding by the rules. These are often drivers from other countries who out of cultural misunderstanding, unfamiliarity, or just plain obstinance, are unwilling to take my guide dog. (Americans are familiar with the ADA and I can count on one hand the number of problems I have had with US-born drivers.) As for foreign drivers, I can Count a couple dozen or more incidents including:  drivers driving away, verbal abuse, out-and-out refusal even when told they would be reported; drivers asking me to put my dog in the back, etc... it goes on and on. I used to let them know, via text, that I had a service animal, but I noticed immediately, that they canceled right away, upon reading my text. So, I stopped doing that and let them face the music when they pull up to pick me up. I'm a calm, reasonable person, but I will not tolerate denial of service and always report these to Lyft, the only company I ride with now. I am considering discontinuing my subscription because I experience stress each time I order a ride, wondering if I will be denied service. It's great that anyone can drive for Uber/Lyft and have a ready-made job, but let's follow the rules. They really do apply to all, not just those who find them convenient or to their liking. 

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