By: Uber Driver
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Uber & Lyft Driver’s Guide to COVID-19
Since the USA-based outbreak of COVID-19, most anyone who can work from home has been told to do so. Driver earnings are probably substantially down, but of course for now, there’s no way to know 100%. Having driven for Uber and Lyft part-time for the past 7 years, I can personally attest to things being “slow” the last few times I logged into the apps. But, given how easily COVID-19 appears to be spreading, having passengers in and out of my vehicle doesn’t sound worth the extra few bucks right now anyway.
Here’s a timeline of both Uber & Lyft’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak where their drivers are concerned.
Saturday, March 7th, 2020
Lyft sends out an email blast to its drivers providing links to their “Safety” page. It also features a few blurbs about how they partnered with EO Products to offer free hand sanitizer at Driver Hubs and Service Centers.
(Allow me to don my Alex Jones tinfoil hat for a second: all arrows are pointing to COVID-19 being transmissible in the air. Apparently particles can survive up to 3 hours suspended in the air and can live on a surface – without a human host – for up to 3 days.
Aside from the aforementioned email blast, Lyft’s response has been noticeably less urgent when compared to Uber’s. In fact, on it’s main website’s blog and on “The Hub” (their company-wide newsroom-style blog), neither have any posts from March 2020, and at the time this article was written, neither of those blogs even mention Coronavirus or COVID-19 anywhere.
There’s also no mention of the virus nor safety precautions in the driver-side app – which is the primary way driver’s communicate with Lyft and vice versa. After all, it’s an app-based service. They did, however, send out an email to all drivers on March 7, 2020,
They also don’t appear to have gotten the memo that Houston’s Annual Rodeo was cancelled back on March 11 after two San Antonio visitors to the event tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the rodeo, and another presumptive positive case was reported to have visited a vendor cookoff.
Saturday, March 14: 8:11PM CST
Uber sends in-app notification that it’s Greenlight hubs would be closed until at the earliest April 6th.
What are Greenlight hubs?
Greenlight hubs are run by Uber employees. There are usually a few in each major city. They operate during normal business hours, and are supposed to be a step up from trying to get in app support. As any Uber driver will tell you, trying to get support for problems that arise on trips, with earnings, or with the app itself, is like pulling teeth. The representatives are usually not native English speakers, and they’re notorious for closing out tickets without even responding. So if you really want help or a human response, a Greenlight hub is your best bet.
Sunday, March 15, 2020: 3:49PM CST
They also are offering financial assistance to anyone directly affected by COVID-19. The benefit is measured by a percentage of the drivers’ daily average, and awarded out of a portion of that. To be eligible for said benefits, one or more of the following has to apply:
- You are diagnosed with COVID-19;
- You are placed in an individual quarantine by a public health authority;
- You are personally asked to self-isolate by a public health authority or licensed medical provider; or
- Your account is restricted by Uber as a result of information provided by a public health authority that you have been diagnosed or have been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
Source: Uber Blog
While I won’t be driving for Uber nor Lyft anytime soon, I’ll keep checking the driver apps to see what other notifications (if any) either company announces. I’ll update this post accordingly.