Uber launches mask verification as part of new safety measures

Sunday, 17 May, 2020

The company is also providing $50 million for drivers to purchase supplies like masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant to use in their cars and provide to riders, it said.

Uber has stated that it will be encouraging drivers to cancel trips without penalty if they do not feel safe, including if the rider isn't wearing a face cover.

"After we verify the driver is covering their face, we'll let the rider know via an in-app message", wrote Uber.

Also, the company has made it mandatory for its driver partners to complete ride-sharing specific educational videos, highlighting standard operating procedures for vehicle disinfection and other Covid-19 related safety protocols.

The company says it will keep the measures in place through the month of June and then assess the public health situation in its various markets before deciding whether to continue, adjust or drop them. Riders will receive a notification to confirm their driver has said they are wearing a mask before they arrive at the pickup point.

On Wednesday, Uber announced a host of policy and in-app changes created to ensure that riders' "Second First Trip" provides a safe and comfortable environment for all involved. Drivers will also be asked to confirm whether they have taken additional safety measures like sanitizing the vehicle or making hand sanitizer available to their riders.

So get your masks on and hail an Uber, knowing that the app is keeping careful watch over everything. They'll be required to take a selfie to show they are following the rule.

It has adjusted its practices within all its operations sites including fulfilment centres (warehouses), sortation centres and delivery stations through new formats of communications, process changes, new training methods and several policy changes, it said in a statement.

The company also is considering adding self-checks for passengers.

- Accountability for all: Uber is adding new options for feedback, including if a rider or driver is not wearing a mask or face cover.

The global pandemic has been taken a toll on Uber's ride-hailing business, with rides down about 80 per cent globally in April. This includes purchasing and beginning to distribute more than 7 million masks, and over 350,000 units of sanitising and cleaning supplies to drivers and couriers across Europe.

It's similar to the technology Uber already uses to make sure drivers match their licenses and profiles, called Real-Time ID Check.