Starting May 18th, Uber is rolling out mandatory precautionary measures for both riders and drivers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the main new measures requires both drivers and riders to wear a face cover or mask. Riders will only be able to request a ride on the app if they have confirmed that they are wearing a mask. Similarly, drivers can only go online once they have indicated they are wearing a mask.
Uber will require drivers to take a picture of themselves to verify that they are wearing a mask. This will be done through the app’s AI system, which will be able to detect whether they are wearing one.
Riders will now also be asked to sit in the back of the driver’s vehicle and open a window for ventilation if possible. Uber has also reduced the number of passengers for its “UberX” option from four riders to three.
The app is going to tell riders not to ride if they may have COVID-19 or related symptoms. Riders are also told to wash or sanitize their hands before and after their ride. Once a rider is informed who their driver is, they will be notified that their “driver stated they’re wearing a face cover.”
Both riders and drivers can cancel trips if the other person is not wearing a mask. If they choose to continue with the trip, they can both also indicate the reason for why they have given a low rating by indicating that either the driver or rider wasn’t wearing a mask.
There are also several measures that drivers need to take before they can go online. For instance, drivers need to confirm that they won’t drive if they have COVID-19 symptoms. It also requires them to confirm that they have sanitized their vehicle and that they wash or sanitize their hands regularly.
Uber announced that it has committed $50 million USD (about $70 million CAD) to supply drivers with face masks, hand sanitizer and other supplies. It notes that it has secured more than 23 million masks for drivers around the world.
Drivers will also be provided with videos within the app on how to practice proper health and safety measures. For instance, there will be a video on how to properly wear a mask and how to effectively sanitize vehicles.
Uber notes that it will take action from the feedback it receive if it finds that drivers and riders aren’t following proper precautions.
It also acknowledges that these new features are to ensure that its service is ready once people start taking Uber again. It notes that riders should continue following government orders on isolation.
Image credit: Uber