I decided over the weekend not to drive for Uber or Lyft during the coronavirus pandemic. For my personal safety, it just doesn’t make any sense.
Uber and Lyft have been extremely slow enacting any type of safety measures in response to the COVID-19 state of emergency. One of the things they should have done early on is ban riders from sitting up front next to the driver. For whatever reason, some riders like to sit up front. I hate when people do that during the best of times. Throw in a deadly virus from the wet markets of Wuhan, China and it becomes extremely problematic. On Friday I had two Lyft trips where a passenger insisted on sitting up front in my personal space.
Over the weekend I contacted both Uber and Lyft asking them to ban passengers from riding up front next to the driver. Neither company replied.
I like to tweet things on Twitter
I will not be driving for #Uber or #Lyft today. Instead I’ll be working around the house. I’d like to see @AskLyft and @Uber_Support to ban riders from the front seat. It would make things safer. Will they do it? #COVID2019
— Rick in Maryland (@RLRottman) March 16, 2020
Neither Lyft nor Uber replied. I’d like to say I’m surprised, but after they refused my earlier attempts to contact them over the weekend, I cannot say that.
Banning riders from sitting in the front seat would decrease the number of possible passengers in a vehicle by one. An UberX, the cheapest ride passenger’s can choose seats up to four people. One in the front and three in the back. To ban using the front seat would mean an UberX could only carry three riders, all in the backseat. If a passenger wants a vehicle that can carry four people, they should have to request an UberXL or a LyftXL, types of vehicles that can carry more people. Evidently Uber and Lyft don’t want to make passengers request a bigger and more expensive vehicle even though they both claim safety is their first priority.
If you drive for Uber or Lyft during the COVID-19 emergency, you are doing something unsafe
Even on a good day, your personal car can become a moving petri dish of germs. I never knew how much people like to cough without covering their mouths before I became a rideshare driver. I don’t get it.
Uber announced they are going to suspend any driver who tests positive for the coronavirus or drivers who have been exposed to someone who has. This new policy is ripe for abuse. Don’t like the driver who drove you to the Dollar Store and refused to wait 30 minutes while you shopped? Contact Uber and tell them you have the Wuhan virus. Uber will immediately suspend that driver.