Do we have to accept passengers with service dogs? This is actually a situation that happened to me out while I was driving a few weeks ago, and I wasn’t sure what I had to do.
Take a look at my video to see the answer, then read the transcript below if you prefer to read.
In my own situation, I ended up taking this passenger and their dog. I’m a pretty dog friendly person in general so I didn’t mind. I actually was prepared for it, which I’ll talk about in a second.
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You can accept or decline anyone…with exceptions
As drivers you have the choice to reject or accept whoever you want. But when you start coming into these issues with people with service dogs, or disabled people, that’s when you could potentially be breaking the law. I wasn’t really aware of what the rules were. I actually emailed Uber after this situation happened to me.
I asked them, “Do I have to transport service animals?” Here’s what they said, so this is an Uber Customer Service response,
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“While Uber partners can transport pets at their discretion, accessibility laws require all Uber partners to accommodate service animals. This is according to the Americans with Disability’s Act.
You can ask a rider if the animal is a service dog, or what task the animal has been trained to perform. But you can’t require special ID cards for the animal, or ask about the person with disability.”
You have to take their word for it
What Uber is telling me, that you kind of have to take them for their word. You can ask, “Hey, is that a service dog?” If they say that it is, you don’t really have a whole lot you can do. How I would combat this, lets say you don’t want to take dog period, unless you’re legally required to. Based on Uber’s response I’m not sure if you’re legally required to but it sounds like Uber is definitely legally required to. So it’ll be really interesting if some drivers start this, whether it’s the driver or Uber who gets in trouble. I have a feeling it’ll probably be a little of both.
I’m sure there are people who take advantage of this, and I think that’s what drivers are most worried about. Let’s say you get someone coming to the car, right, it’s the same thing that I often do. I don’t say, “Hey, are you Steve?” I say, “Hey, what’s your name?” So, when this passenger gets into the car with a dog, instead of saying, “Hey, is that a service dog?” Where they can easily just say yes to. If it’s your policy that you don’t allow dogs, say, “Hey ma’am I’m sorry, I don’t allow dogs in the car.” Then that way there’s no mention of service dogs or anything like that. If it is a service dog, then they’ll say, “Well this is a service dog.”
Then at that point there’s not a whole lot you can do. If they say, “Oh, okay.” Or if they get pissed, or something like that, you know at least you avoided having to take that dog.
Keep a blanket or towel for dogs
Now, me personally, I don’t really mind transporting dogs. What I do is, I keep a blanket or a towel in the back of my car. Dogs shed, so you don’t want to leave a bunch of hairs.
If they do make a mess, then obviously there’s that, they do it on the towel. You may or may not be able to get a cleaning fee for that. If they make a mess, then I think you can, but if it’s just hair and things like that, you probably won’t. So the towels definitely come in handy more than once for a couple dogs.
It’s also come in handy when I’ve been transporting people from the beach or from pools, or things like that. So it has a lot of uses, carrying a blanket or a towel.
You can refuse dogs, but not service dogs
In summary, you have the option to refuse regular dogs. You don’t have to take regular dogs, but if they are a service dog, according to Uber, you do have to take them. If this has happened to you, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. If you’ve dealt with Uber over this issue definitely let me know. Or if you have any further comments, questions definitely let me know below. I’ll look forward to hearing from you guys soon.
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