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Navigating Service Ride Denials for Service Dog Handlers

Wednesday May 08, 2024

A black Lab guide dog walking briskly beside a person whose legs are shown.

Guide Dogs for the Blind surveyed its alumni in the US and Canada in January and February of 2023. The research aimed to identify common experiences among surveyed individuals that reveal a need for intervention and/or increased awareness to improve the daily experiences of alums and members of the broader blind community. Our findings showed that 83% of respondents report that they had experienced rideshare denials, leading to unnecessary negative psychological, social, and economic impacts in the lives of our clients. 

To read the whole report, visit

In response to these findings, we've created some tips for navigating rideshare services and reporting denials with a service dog.

When booking and waiting for your ride:

  • You are not obligated to inform the company or drivers that you are accompanied by a guide dog.
  • You are not restricted to the “pet service” options. You have the right to ANY service options ridesharing or taxi companies offer. In addition to being unnecessary and more expensive, these options may limit the number of potential drivers responding to your request.
  • For your records, once a ride is booked and a driver is assigned, take a screenshot of the open app, which includes the driver’s name, vehicle, and license plate number, and estimated arrival time.
  • A few minutes prior to your estimated pickup, call or message the driver to inform them precisely where you are waiting, that you will not be able to locate them visually, and that you have a service dog. Take a screenshot of this message as proof of your efforts to communicate with your driver.
  • When the app informs you of your driver’s arrival, take a photo of the car with your smartphone for proof that your ride showed up (or showed up and left). If you use a live visual assistance app such as Aira or Be My Eyes, that service can assist in locating the vehicle for you to then capture a photo.
  • If the driver has an issue with providing a ride because you are traveling with a guide dog, DO NOT CANCEL THE RIDE VIA THE APP. If you do cancel, you will be charged a cancellation fee, and the incident will not be accurately reflected in the driver’s records as having turned down your request.
  • During an active or confrontational denial of service, use your smartphone’s video or audio-recording feature to create a record of your negative experiences with the rideshare provider.

Reporting Rideshare Denials:

Filing a discrimination complaint with the appropriate government authority, and National Federation for the Blind (NFB), provides government regulators and watchdogs with data to address civil rights discrimination more effectively. Reporting denials directly to rideshare companies helps hold the driver and the rideshare company accountable.

  • Share your experience with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Rideshare Discrimination Survey via its NFB’s Rideshare Survey. (NFB led the 2016-2020 agreement with Uber to report and gather data on discrimination against guide dog teams. NFB continues to collect data for future advocacy efforts.)
  • As complaints of rideshare discrimination against service dog handlers persist, advocates have reached out to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Civil Rights Division for better law enforcement. Reporting your discrimination experience to the DOJ provides the data to justify legal actions. Visit the Department of Justice website to report a civil rights violation through a simple, easy-to-use online form, or call 855-856-1247.
  • If a driver denies you service, inform them that it is against the law to refuse a service dog and that you will be filing a discrimination report with the company.
  • If denied, follow the ride-share app prompt to report a service animal ride denial.
  • Contact one or more of the relevant following companies or agencies where appropriate:

Here are links and contact information to file reports against guide dog discrimination in Canada:

Categories: Access & Etiquette, Advocacy, GDB Alumni