How will Uber rides look like in a post COVID-19 world
The coronavirus pandemic has led to various shifts in business models for different industries around the world. The necessity of wearing protective gear, such as face masks and face shields, are necessary for the economy to remain open even amidst the threat of being infected by the diseases.
These changes are in line with the UK government’s guidelines on the necessity of facemasks in commuting and are stated to last until the end of June. However, its implementation may be extended depending on the reassessment of the nation’s public health situation. Because there is no clear end date on when the pandemic’s effects will subside, massive changes in safety policies and business models are now being implemented, which include the business practices of taxi-hailing services.
Changes in the taxi-hailing market
Uber is playing catch up with its international competitor, Lyft, who has introduced similar safety protocols much earlier in the year. The pandemic has pointed out the glaring lack of labor and safety protection for freelance individuals in the gig economy, such as taxi-hailing and courier delivery drivers. This is why companies like Uber are under pressure to ensure that they can avoid laying off their contractors by keeping their service credible and safe for both drivers and passengers.
Uber’s response towards the pandemic
Uber has spent a considerable amount of investment in buying protective equipment for their drivers, including masks, gloves, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizer. The company is also committed to reimbursing these cleaning and safety gear for drivers who are not capable of receiving direct shipments.
Similar to delivery workers for courier services, drivers need to confirm that they are wearing masks before they are allowed to work. This is performed through a virtual checklist that requires them to take a selfie before they can log in for their workday. Once Uber has verified that the driver has followed the necessary safety procedures, the customers who will look for a ride will be notified of this verification. As such, drivers who don’t follow this protocol will not be allowed to operate.
Passenger and driver safety as a priority
Besides driver policies, passengers must also confirm that they’re wearing face masks themselves and that they’ve washed their hands. They are also required to sit at the back while allowing open windows for proper ventilation. Uber limits ride-sharing capacities to only three passengers and down to four with its standard Uber X service.
Both riders and drivers are allowed to cancel their trips if they see that they don’t feel safe with their chosen driver or passenger. Repeat offenders who do not fit Uber’s guidelines may be at risk of being booted off the platform if they continuously avoid safety protocols.
Many taxi operators are going the extra mile in protecting both their passengers and their drivers from contracting the COVID-19 disease. This is why Uber is implementing taxi protective screens between passengers and drivers as a test-trial in improving their sponsored vehicles’ safety measures.
Many businesses will have to modernize their establishments and logistical equipment to include preventative measures in ensuring safe business transactions with clients. Both passengers and the taxi-hailing industry will need to adapt to new industry standards to ensure the safety and protection of clients and contractors alike.
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About Driver Bubble™
The Driver Bubble™ is a simple, intuitive screen that fits into most vehicles and helps shield passengers and drivers alike. Born out of Amsterdam, the company designs and builds protective screens for the global taxi, rideshare and transportation industry.