As more governments move to re-open public life, Uber, the world’s leading ride-hailing app, has announced a variety of new safety precautions to keep drivers and passengers safe from the spread of COVID-19.
Starting Monday, Uber will require all drivers and passengers to wear facial coverings while using the service, and to go through a digital checklist that includes putting on a mask and sanitizing hands.
Uber will use artificial intelligence built into its app to verify that its drivers are complying by the new safety regulations. They will be required to prove that they’re wearing a mask by sending a selfie to the Uber app, and riders will receive a notification to confirm that their driver has complied. Passengers will additionally be asked to sit in the back seat only, and to keep windows open for ventilation.
“It’s important to us that you know what to expect,” Uber said in a statement. “Over the last two months, our tech and safety teams have been hard at work building a new product experience that will help protect everyone, every time they use Uber.”
“Everyone must take proper precautions not only to protect yourself but also the driver and the next person getting in the car after,” added Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshani. “It’s about protecting not only yourself but everyone around you.”
To ensure compliance by all Uber participants, drivers and riders alike are being asked to notify the company if they witness any violations of the safety protocol. Repeat offenders risk having their accounts terminated.
“We are encouraging drivers to cancel trips without penalty if they don’t feel safe, including if the rider isn’t wearing a face cover,” the company said.
As a further commitment to the new health regulations, Uber says it has allocated $50 million for buying masks, disinfectant spray, wipes, hand sanitizer, and gloves for drivers and riders. Uber claims it has already obtained some 23 million masks.
Its leading ride-hailing rival, Lyft, announced similar guidelines this month. Both international companies will apply their rules uniformly in all markets to ensure that safety is a priority for app-users in every region across the world.