Some Uber riders in Philadelphia are receiving messages from Uber, informing them there accounts have been disabled until further notice. Suspensions are a result of a “public health concern” related to the COVID-19 outbreak. According to three riders who spoke with Philly Mag, they are uncertain as to why their accounts were blocked.
Uber’s decision and its message to blocked riders have left far more questions than answers. Some riders are wondering if a driver reported them for coughing or if their driver was exposed to the coronavirus. Others speculated they could have been exposed to the virus after an infected rider departed from the car they used.
Suspended riders received this message from Uber: “We were made aware of a public health concern by your local Department of Public Health. Your rider account has been placed on hold until the Public Health Officer completes their investigation. You can still use the Uber Eats app to order food. We understand this is concerning, but we can’t share information on behalf of the Department of Public Health. […] You can contact your local Department of Public Health if you have any questions. Once we receive notice that the Public Health Officer has finished their investigation, we’ll revisit the status of your account.”
When a rider reached out to Uber for more information, she was told to contact her local Department of Public Health directly. However, in response to the message, a spokesperson from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health stated that city officials were unaware of the messages and are uncertain as to how or why they were generated.
As Uber has yet to comment directly on the matter, for now, the suspensions remain a mystery. Uber continues to promote sanitation guidelines to drivers and passengers to encourage stopping the spread of the coronavirus; however, riders have no way of knowing if their drivers are following through with the required protocols.
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