San Jose woman says she was denied Lyft rides because of service dog

EMBED </>More News Videos

A Bay Area woman with a disability says she may sue Lyft because she and her service dog were refused a ride. (KGO-TV)

A Bay Area woman with a disability says she may sue Lyft because she and her service dog were refused a ride.

San Jose resident Candelaria Jelinski is legally blind and relies on her service dog, Aretha, for help.


One place Aretha can't always guide her owner is onto a Lyft.

Jelinsky recorded her encounter on Saturday. "She's my service animal. She's my guide dog," she can be heard saying in the recordings.

RELATED: Same-sex couple says Uber driver canceled ride on way to SF Pride

"I know, I want equal rights. You know, they shouldn't be discriminating against me and my dog," she said.

Jelinski says Lyft drivers have refused to pick her up at least eight times.

In a statement to ABC7 News, a spokesperson for Lyft wrote: "Lyft is committed to maintaining an inclusive and welcoming community and our mission is ensuring people who need rides most are able to get them. Many disabled individuals who were previously underserved by existing transportation options now actively use and rely on Lyft as a reliable, safe and affordable way to get around, and refusing passengers with service animals is a violation of our terms of service. Everyone in the car deserves a 5-star experience, including service animals. Discrimination of any kind may result in the offender's immediate deactivation."

If health reasons prevent a driver from taking the animal, they are required to call a special number to help make other arrangements.

Jelinski says she didn't get that treatment. "They say they're not going to pair me with that driver. That's not satisfactory to me. If they don't pair me with that driver and that driver is the only one working, then I don't get a ride. So how is that fair?"

She wants an apology and for Lyft to make sure drivers are well-trained in disability laws.
Related Topics:
newslyftdiscriminationdisabilitydisability issuesSan Jose
(Copyright ©2016 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments