Recently, Uber announced that their ‘No mask, no ride’ policy would be extended to passengers. What does this policy look like for riders, and how can drivers ensure they will be safe while transporting passengers? Senior RSG contributor Jay Cradeur breaks down Uber’s mask policy for passengers below.
The COVID 19 pandemic became a national concern in February 2020. I stopped driving in early February. Since that time, over 200,000 people have died from this airborne disease.
We all learned fairly early on that wearing a mask is one powerful way to not only protect yourself but also to protect those around you. Here we are, a good six months into this pandemic, and as of today, Uber announced that passengers who don’t wear a mask can be reported and then required to do a face mask selfie before their next ride. This follows Uber’s previous safety announcement, their ‘Wash, Wear, Air’ campaign.
I suppose we can say “What took so long?” but we can also say “This is a good policy.” After all, drivers should not have to risk their lives and health and the welfare of their families just to do their job and make some money.
The Uber Mask Policy
According to Uber’s announcement below, Mask Verification is now being expanded to include riders. Riders will be prompted to take a photo of themselves before they can ride with a driver. As of right now, riders who were already reported not wearing a mask will be required to take a selfie with their mask on before requesting a trip.
The enforcement of the mask policy falls on the shoulders of the drivers. When you go to pick up a passenger, and you see the passenger has no mask, you have several options.
First, you can cancel the ride and report the passenger for not wearing a mask. Or, you can speak to the passenger and ask the passenger to wear a mask before entering your vehicle. If the passenger complies, then you drive. If the passenger refuses, you can cancel the ride and report the passenger. Or you can still take the passenger without the mask.
Given that the price of masks is fairly low, you may want to offer a mask to your passenger in order to get the ride. It is a judgment call as you might not want to deal with a potentially hostile passenger for a short ride. However, if the ride was a long ride, perhaps an airport run, you may want to try to solve the problem and proceed with the ride.
The Passenger Selfie
This image below demonstrates what the passengers will see on the Uber app if they are required to take a selfie:
It is a super easy process. All of this begs the question as to why doesn’t Uber ask all passengers to take a selfie before requesting a ride? Drivers have to take a selfie before starting a shift to verify the mask.
Given the ease of use, why not eliminate the option of anyone entering a vehicle without a mask? Is Uber concerned they would lose passengers? “I’m not going to take an Uber because they will make me wear a mask!” I don’t understand Uber’s reluctance to enforce the mask policy 100% to protect both driver and passenger.
Uber has reported that over 1,250 passengers have been deactivated for repeatedly refusing to wear a mask:
If you have been deactivated by Uber but feel you were deactivated unfairly, make sure to check out our advice for handling unfair Uber deactivations.
This seems like a very small number given the millions of rides that have occurred in the past four months.
I am sure there are drivers who allow unmasked passengers in their car in order to secure the ride and make money. I am also sure there will be drivers who will not enforce this rule and will refuse to report a passenger for fear of getting a bad rating (which Uber says will not happen).
This is a further reason why 100% compliance for both passenger and driver makes even more sense. When a boat has leaks, unless you fix all the leaks, the boat is still going to sink.
Kover is a portable benefits plan for gig workers, and it covers you in the case of deactivation. Learn more about Kover here.
The Process of Reporting Unmasked Passengers
It is a simple process as detailed here by Uber:
If I am reading the first paragraph correctly, you as the driver are allowed to drive a passenger who is not wearing a mask. Otherwise, how could you give the passenger a rating of less than 5?
Why not enforce a “no mask, no ride” policy? Is there really any reason any Uber passenger or Uber driver should ever be in a car together without a mask in this age of Covid19? I don’t really get it.
Uber Continues To Provide Supplies
It is commendable that Uber continues to provide free health and safety supplies for drivers:
You can pick up supplies at a Greenlight Hub or have them shipped to your home. You can find more information in your Uber driver app.
It may be late, and it may not be as thorough as I would like, but it is an improvement in the current situation and will serve to provide greater protection for drivers. While passengers can still get away with a ride without wearing a mask, at least they will have to prove they have a mask on for the next ride.
I hope that either Uber or Lyft take a stronger stand in the future and require masks of both drivers and passengers before a ride begins. No exceptions! Perhaps when we achieve 300,000 Covid19 deaths in our country, somebody will take the “no mask, no ride” position seriously and provide greater protection for both drivers and passengers alike.
Drivers, what do you think of this announcement by Uber?
-Jay @ RSG