AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Army veteran leaving the VA clinic in Austin says she was denied service by a driver for the company Fasten, because of her service dog.
“As soon as the lady pulled up and she saw myself and Amigo walking towards her, she just rolled down her window and said ‘Nope,'” Lynn Krug, the veteran, says. “I was like, ‘oh, why not?’ and she pointed at Amigo, she was like ‘because of her.'”
Krug says she has a service dog, Amigo the chihuahua.
“What was horrible was it was right in front of the [Veteran’s Affair’s Clinic], so it’s not like ‘Oh, I’m going to buy a fake jacket and like try to fake my Chihuahua,'” Krug said.
The city of Austin does have an ordinance that protects Austinites with disabilities from getting denied service. It includes the following guidelines:
- The app should have a feature where someone with a disability can indicate their request. If a driver who shows up can’t provide the ride, the TNC must identify an alternative transportation arrangement for the passenger
- Service animals must be accommodated by TNC drivers, if they can’t, the TNC must identify an alternative transportation arrangement for the passenger and service animal
- Also, a TNC may NOT allow its drivers to refuse a passenger who is disabled but, should exposure to a support animal cause a TNC driver an undue health burden, the TNC shall provide an alternate driver for the passenger with the support animal.
Krug says the driver who denied her was rude and left. “There were a whole bunch of people all around me, so it was kind of embarrassing,” Krug explains.
She did request another Fasten driver when the original one cancelled. She says the new driver was nice and even told her it’s against their policy to deny service dogs.
When Krug tried to contact the company, they told her they would talk with the driver.
Fasten told KXAN in a statement:
We are aware of what happened today and have temporarily suspended the driver involved from our platform in order to reiterate our policies concerning service animals with them. It is not only against our company policy to deny rides to persons with service animals, it is also illegal. Fasten is committed to putting people first and we will continue to ensure that all riders, especially those with service animals, feel welcome to use our platform.”
Krug says she just wants to be sure everyone knows what happened to her.
“Eight years ago when I first started using [Amigo], it was less common to see people with service animals that didn’t look like they were visually impaired or hearing impaired and I would run into different situations,” Krug said. “But you know that’s been years, so running into a problem like this was a little surprising.”
The city has a link where you can file a complaint here if you have any issues with ride-sharing companies.