PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Big changes are coming to Uber beginning on Monday. Drivers and passengers will be required to follow new rules to keep each other safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
How many of us have had second thoughts about jumping into a ride-hailing service lately?
“I don’t think I’ll take an Uber for the rest of 2020,” Philadelphia resident Lisa Jacob said.
Uber realizes that too and so it’s revised its safety guidelines for rides and food delivery that go into effect on Monday.
“The most important takeaway is, as of May 18, Monday, riders, drivers and delivery people will be required to wear face covers or masks,” Sachin Kansal, Uber’s Senior Director of Product Management, said.
Drivers will now be required to take a selfie within Uber’s system that recognizes if they’re wearing a mask. If you feel unsafe, or the driver feels unsafe because of your behavior, either can cancel the ride. Repeated offenders lose access to the app.
Riders will also have to confirm they are wearing a face covering.
But many riders Eyewitness News spoke to said that’s not enough.
“How Uber is structured, you get ride after ride,” Gulshan Manbhyan said. “Is it really possible for that to be at scale? I guess we are far from that right now.”
We’re announcing a range of new initiatives to help keep our community safe when riding and driving with Uber in the US:
🔘Face covers or masks are required for drivers & riders
🔘No front-seat passengers are allowed
🔘Added safety checklists
🔘New safety features in the app
— Uber (@Uber) May 13, 2020
“Big businesses don’t even have the means to regulate themselves properly so how are these individual car drivers going to be able to make sure they’re guaranteeing their safety and the safety of their passengers?” Kai Bethea said.
One Uber driver says his business has been steady throughout the pandemic and isn’t enamored with its new policies.
“It’s just stupid. Wearing a mask, it’s stupid,” Uber driver A.J. Jackson said.
“I feel very safe taking Uber. A lot of the drivers are taking precautions,” Vince Lustrinelli said. “I’ve been sitting in the back. I haven’t felt unsafe at any point.”
Other changes include riders being advised to no longer sit in the front seat. Uber is also reducing the capacity in its UberX rides from four to three people.
A new feedback option is also being added to the app, which includes reporting if a rider or driver is not wearing a mask.
The company is also encouraging both drivers and riders to cancel trips if a user is not wearing a mask or face cover.