In an attempt to limit the spread of Covid-19, Uber Technologies has suspended Uber Pool in the United States and Canada. Similar steps outside of the U.S. and Canada will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
The service previously matched up to three passengers to one vehicle based on their destination. This reduced cost and climate impact. According to CNBC, there is no timeframe for when the Uber Pool service will be available again. It is contingent on the spread of the virus and how cities respond to the pandemic.
This decision comes after the White House urged people to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people and called for the closing of venues like bars and restaurants where the virus is more likely to spread. There was also a group of Uber drivers from the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) who called for shared strips to end during this time. IDG organizer Tina Raveneau released a statement saying, “At a time when health authorities are urging social distancing, app companies should not be packing five strangers in a van. For everyone’s safety, pool rides have to go.”
In response to the decision, senior vice president Uber Rides and Platform Andrew MacDonald said, “Our goal is to help flatten the curve on community spread in the cities we serve.” Regular Uber on-demand rides for individual bookings and Uber Eats delivery services will continue to operate as before.
Uber riders will also see a message when they open their apps, reminding them to consider their traveling needs before they book a ride. Users are advised to only travel if necessary and exercise caution for their safety and the safety of their communities.
To help users during this time, Uber announced it will waive the Uber Eats delivery fee for local restaurants and is allowing requests for food to be left at the doorstep by delivery couriers. Additionally, it’s committing to delivering over 300,000 meals to healthcare workers and first responders who are working hard to stop the spread of the virus and take care of those who fall ill.
Earlier in March, Uber announced it would provide 14 days of sick pay to drivers who received Covid-19 diagnoses and quarantine recommendations. Lyft has yet to release a statement on its shared rides policy, but are expected to do so soon. It has yet to be seen how the pandemic will impact the rideshare industry.