Uber will require drivers in India to wear masks and to periodically take a selfie to verify that they are wearing a mask, the company said in a blog post. Beginning May 18, the company said, it will not let drivers who are not wearing masks run trips in India, Canada, most parts of Latin America and Europe, and the US. The company said that its mask-checking system is separate from the facial recognition system it already has in place since 2017 to prevent fake drivers.
Drivers will also be required to fill out a checklist verifying that they wash their hands regularly, have sanitised their vehicle that morning, and will not go online if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
“They must also agree to sit in the back seat and open windows for ventilation,” the company said. Premium UberX rides will now have a maximum “suggested” limit of three riders instead of four.
Drivers can cancel trips if feeling unsafe
If a passenger is not wearing a mask, drivers will be able to cancel the trip without having to pay a penalty. The same applies to riders, who can cancel trips without paying a fee if the drivers are not wearing a face covering. “Drivers and riders who repeatedly violate mask policies risk losing access to Uber,” the company warned.
The company added that it will use resources from the World Health Organisation to educate riders and drivers, and that it has spent $50 million acquiring cleaning supplies for drivers globally. We have reached out to the company for further details on its India-specific steps.
Uber and the pandemic
- May 8: Uber Eats grows 89% as Rides take a hit
- May 7: Uber is laying off 3,700 employees to tide over the coronavirus crisis
- April 14: Uber starts rides to and from hospitals in Mumbai
- April 7: Uber launches Essential rides in Gurgaon during COVID19; 200 locations like hospitals, a COVID-19 testing lab, pharmacies covered