- Uber and Lyft are suspending their shared ride services in response to the spread of COVID-19.
- Uber is suspending the service in the U.S. and Canada, while Lyft is suspending it in all markets.
- Uber is also urging riders not to travel unless it is necessary.
Uber and Lyft announced today that in response to the spread of COVID-19, they are suspending pool and shared ride services. Lyft is suspending its service in all markets, while Uber is currently limiting the suspension to the U.S. and Canada. The decision was made to thwart the transmission of the virus through limiting rider-to-rider contact, as the pool services allows riders to purchase trips at lower rates through sharing their trip with others.
“Our goal [at Uber] is to help flatten the curve of community spread in the cities we serve,” Andrew Macdonald, senior vice president of Uber Rides and Platform, said on Twitter. While Uber said that the decision would only affect services in the U.S. and Canada, Reuters reported that the company could extend the decision to other countries on a case-by-case basis.
“Lyft is pausing Shared rides across all of our markets,” a Lyft spokesperson told C/D. “The health and safety of the Lyft community is our top priority, and we’re dedicated to doing what we can to slow the spread of COVID-19. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and base our actions on official guidance.”
Additionally, Uber is sending in-app messages to riders urging them to travel only if it’s necessary and reminding them to “flatten the curve,” the phrase being used to remind people to socially isolate themselves. “If you must travel, please keep your driver’s well-bring in mind by washing your hands before and after entering the vehicle, giving your driver space by sitting in the back seat, and covering your mouth or nose if you cough or sneeze,” the message reads, according to screenshots from Uber.
Last week, Uber and Lyft both announced that they would be providing financial assistance—although without being specific regarding how much assistance—for drivers who go into quarantine or contract the virus.