Uber Apologises For Misconduct Towards Blind Customer, Former Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes

15/04/2016 1:33 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 30: A person uses the UberX app on October 30, 2015 in Canberra, Australia. The Australian Capital Territory is the first jurisdiction in the world to legalise UberX, allowing people to access and offer ridesharing services without fear of fines or license suspensions. (Photo by Martin Ollman/Getty Images)

Ride sharing service Uber has apologised to a blind customer who was refused service by one of its drivers and then abused by another driver, who would not allow him in his car with a guide dog.

The customer in question was Australia's former disability discrimination commissioner, Graeme Innes who immediately lodged an email complaint with the company and then with the Human Rights Commission.

On March 24 Innes ordered an Uber car, however upon arrival he was refused service.

Innes said when he told the driver he was required to take guide dogs, the driver said: "No this is a new car, this is a brand-new car, it's a $90,000 car, I can't take animals in the car -- it will just make it messy," The Daily Telegraph reported.

The driver cancelled the trip and the former disability discrimination commissioner was charged a fee for that trip and forced to book another.

Innes said when the second driver arrived he initially refused to take the dog but relented when he was told that he was legally required to take him.

Last year the ride share service launched its “uberASSIST” program, designed to provide additional assistance for people with different accessibility needs.

The company said its drivers would receive specific training on safety requirements for these passengers.

ABC News reports following the incident Innes posted a complaint on Twitter, to which Uber responded, and he then lodged two complaints via email.

"They refunded the fares immediately, but I also said that I would like compensation and I'd also like to be made aware of the disciplining of the drivers and I gave them seven days to respond to that," Innes said.

Mr Innes said he did not get a response, so he lodged two complaints under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) with the Human Rights Commission.

Two days after the complaints were made, Innes received a response from the company and was told the drivers had been disciplined.

"But I think that the matter didn't progress up the corporate chain very quickly until I lodged the DDA complaints, once I did that I had a pretty positive response from Uber," Innes told ABC.

An Uber spokesman told AM: "We have resolved the individual issue about the isolated incident.

"We believe that everyone should be able to get access to reliable and affordable transport, including those with accessibility needs and assistance dogs."

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