US govt. sues Uber for charging 'wait time' fees

The US Department of Justice has sued ride-hailing firm Uber for charging "wait time" fees, alleging that the practice discriminates against people with disabilities.

The US Justice Department filed the lawsuit in a US district court in California on Wednesday. It accuses Uber of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA.

Uber starts charging wait time fees two minutes after the driver arrives at the pickup location.

The department asked the court to order Uber to review its policy, alleging the company starts charging even when it is aware that "a passenger's need for additional time is clearly disability-based."

Uber said it recognizes that many riders with disabilities depend on Uber for their transportation needs. The company said it had been in discussions with the Justice Department about how to rectify the situation before the "surprising and disappointing lawsuit" was filed.

The company said riders who certify they are disabled will have the fees automatically waived, and it fundamentally disagrees with the allegation that its policies violate the ADA.