The threat of coronavirus is almost everywhere. The federal government is generally only giving “recommendations” of what citizens should do to slow the virus. However “recommendations” are much less powerful than “requirements.” So cities, counties and states across the U.S. are making their own rules, in a patchwork style of orders, that force people to do what they must to keep themselves and others safe and “flatten the curve.”
Government entities aren’t the only ones making changes in the face of coronavirus. Case in point, ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft recently disabled the carpooling feature of their respective apps, to disallow ride-sharing.
The temporary measure, which currently affects sharing rides in the United States and Canada, was done in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, as per a recent report by Reuters.
The change came earlier this week, after a request from the Independent Drivers Guild, a Union affiliate that represents 80,000+ NYC ride-hailing drivers.
“Packing five strangers in a pooled ride is a bad idea right now,” said Brendan Sexton, executive director of the guild. “For the health and safety of drivers, riders and our communities, we are urging a moratorium on shared or ‘pool’ rides.”
The two companies previously had options to carpool with strangers, called UberPool and Lyft Line, which allowed for less expensive rides.
“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,” a Lyft spokesperson said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the situation closely and base our actions on official guidance.”
Earlier this week, both ridesharing companies also began including messages on their respective apps to only travel when necessary. Here’s Uber’s:
Uber’s move came after the ride-hailing company had suspended over 200 accounts last month due to coronavirus.
“Our goal is to helpof community spread in the cities we serve,” said Andrew Macdonald, Uber Rides and Platform’s senior VP. “We remain in close contact with local leaders and will continue to work with them to discourage non-essential travel.”
*** Feature photo (cropped): Marco Verch/flickr
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary