Beginning Monday, Uber drivers will be required to take selfies in the app to verify they are wearing a mask or face covering before they are able to pick up passengers, the company announced on Wednesday.
That is just one part of an interactive checklist drivers will have to complete each time they go online to accept rides. Other requirements include confirming they do not have symptoms, sanitize their vehicle regularly and wash their hands.
Riders will also be required to confirm that they are wearing a mask or face covering before hailing a car, but there is not a selfie component. Instead, the company is relying on drivers and riders to keep each other accountable.
“Things are going to look a little different for both riders and drivers,” said CEO Dara Khosrowshahi on a press call Wednesday, referring to the new Uber process as “your second first trip.”
“We have put in several checks and balances because this is something that is really shared accountability,” said Uber’s head of safety products, Sachin Kansal, in an interview with CNN Business this week. “If the driver approaches and the rider sees the driver is not wearing a mask, they can cancel the trip. They don’t have to get in the car.”
The company said there will be no penalties for such cancellations.
After a ride, if a driver or rider gives a low rating, for example, they’ll be asked for feedback, which includes a new tag: “no face cover or mask.” Kansal said the company will follow up with drivers and riders when this tag is selected.
“If we see repeated violations by the same person, whether it’s a rider or driver, we may take additional steps including taking them off the platform,” Kansal said. He declined to go into details of how many violations might contribute to a removal.
“We wanted to get something out as fast as possible,” Kansal said, when asked why Uber is not introducing a similar tech-based enforcement on the rider side.
The company also said it has allocated $50 million to purchasing supplies like masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant sprays and wipes for drivers.
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