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Uber rolls out new COVID-19 safety protocols for drivers and passengers

Posted at 2:02 PM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 18:50:09-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Uber activated several new rules and features designed to protect rideshare drivers and passengers during the coronavirus pandemic Monday.

Uber leadership had been preparing for two months to roll out a safety plan in conjunction with states loosening restrictions on business and travel.

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During those two months, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company had been urging people not to use their rideshare platform.

"It's the first time I've ever run an ad asking people not to use our service," he said during a company briefing over the weekend.

During the briefing, Uber safety specialists said the safety features would apply to North America, Latin America, populated sections of Europe, and several other countries.

New features include:

  • Go Online Checklists:

Riders and drivers will have to confirm that they have taken certain steps to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

  • Mask Verification:

Before drivers can start accepting trips, they are required to take a selfie with a mask on, and the Uber app will verify the driver is wearing a mask before they can begin their shift.

  • Accountability for all:

Drivers and riders can report each other if they aren't following safety protocols, and anyone who doesn't feel safe can cancel a ride without being punished.
Any rider or driver with multiple complaints levied against them for failing to follow safety guidelines can be banned from the service.

  • New Limits for UberX and UberXL:

Passengers are no longer allowed to sit in the front seat of an Uber, and, as a result, seating capacity has been reduced in Uber X and UberXLs.
"What we as a company want to be prepared for is the new normal," said Sacha Kansal, senior director of Product Management, "as people start going to work they're going to have much more expectations of us."

STAY UP TO DATE: Continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic