Earlier this week, we discussed Uber’s and Lyft’s plans to suspend operations in cities with curfews around the country amid protests, riots, and looting. Now, however, the rideshare companies are looking to provide services in those areas to reduce the continued risk of profit loss.
In some cities, officials have suspended Uber and Lyft operations during curfews, while others have requested the companies suspend operations on their own accord. While the companies originally planned to comply, Uber is now saying their shutdown will be contingent on Lyft shutting down operations first.
According to the Washington Post, the companies are ceasing operations in some cities, but not in others. For example, Uber paused services in San Francisco and Oakland, while Lyft only halted service in downtown Oakland. Only a day after operations ceased, rides were again available on both platforms.
In most cities, Uber and Lyft are approaching the situation on a case-by-case basis. Their doing so is based on the argument that they provide essential services for workers who need to get around. Both companies have responded to their decisions to remain in operation in certain areas.
According to a Lyft spokesperson, “Shutting down our platform is a major decision that can leave people stranded—especially in underserved areas where public transit is limited due to COVID-19. This is why we are remaining operational during curfews in regions where we haven’t been explicitly required to stop operating.” According to Uber, “Some cities have requested that we suspend operations during curfew hours, while others want to ensure Uber is available for essential services.”
Continued operation will depend on how the situation evolves. Uber and Lyft will be required to cease operations when official city orders are given, but they can continue to operate on their own accord in the event halting rides is only suggested.
With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the country, both rideshare companies have had to make aggressive cost-cutting moves, including layoffs. In addition to that, it’s likely ridership trends will continue to change for months or even longer depending on how comfortable consumers feel sharing rides.
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