Rideshares explain new protocols during COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft are still running as an essential service in the state and are adjusting the way they operate during the COVID-19 pandemic to help keep drivers and riders safe.

KRQE spoke with people who have mixed feelings about hopping into a Lyft or Uber right now to get to work or even run errands. “It’s not really a problem and as long as they’re not coughing on me, you know they’re in front, they’re not bothering me so I’m good,” said Mackenzie Hughes.

“I wouldn’t even really consider doing it I guess because it seems like you’re supposed to be avoiding contact with other people and getting into someone’s vehicle is having contact with them,” said Sherilyn Lucas.

A spokesperson with Lyft said they’re working to better protect passengers including essential employees. They said the company has distributed thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies to drivers. 

KRQE spoke with local Lyft driver Isaiah Samora who said the COVID-19 pandemic has been tough for him and many other drivers who rely on the service as their primary source of income. Samora said fewer people are ordering rides and that he has decided to stop working for now as a precaution to help keep his family healthy.

“Everybody’s just afraid, everybody doesn’t want to get sick,” said Samora. “Lyft put out a thing about how to sanitize your car, your vehicle, and try to keep distance from the customer or whatever. Still, how much distance can you really keep between a passenger and the driver?”

If a driver or a rider tests positive for COVID-19, Lyft said they will be suspended from the service until they’re medically cleared. Below are the full statements from spokespeople with both Lyft and Uber in response to what the companies are doing during the pandemic. 

“This is an unprecedented situation for all industries and communities, and our focus is on helping keep our riders, drivers, and team members safe. We are working hard to support those who drive with Lyft, and applaud the federal government for passing a people-centered stimulus bill that puts money in the pockets of everyday Americans, including drivers.”

Lyft

Back in March, Uber was the first to implement a voluntary financial assistance package to any driver or delivery person who was diagnosed with COVID-19 or was individually asked to self-isolate by a public health authority. These individuals received financial assistance for up to 14 days while their account is on hold. Since then, we listened to the feedback we received from our driver and delivery partners and updated policy, which expands eligibility to include drivers and delivery people who have been told to individually quarantine because they have preexisting conditions that put them at a higher risk of suffering serious illness from COVID-19. We worked with a consultant with an epidemiologist to make sure all of our efforts as a company are grounded in medical advice. We have a dedicated global team, guided by the advice of a consulting public health expert, working to respond in every market where we operate around the world.”

Uber

New Mexico Coronavirus Resources

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