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Uber, blind passengers settle service animal lawsuit

Ride-hailing service will educate its drivers over their legal obligation to transport guide dogs for the blind.

Uber has agreed to educate its drivers over their legal obligations to transport passengers with guide dogs and other service animals in order to settle a lawsuit brought by advocates for the blind.

As part of the settlement, the ride-hailing company will bar any driver from the platform who knowingly denies a ride to a passenger because the person is traveling with a service animal, Uber said in a statement Friday. Uber also said it will pay $225,000 over three years to the National Federation for the Blind, which brought the lawsuit in 2014.

Federal law requires taxi services such as Uber to transport service animals for blind passengers, but the National Federation for the Blind said in its lawsuit that it knew of more than 40 instances in which Uber drivers allegedly refused to give rides to blind passengers with guide dogs.

"Access to reliable and effective transportation is critical to the ability of blind people to live the lives we want," Mark A. Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said in a statement Saturday.