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Are Ola & Uber Doing Enough to Tackle Your Coronavirus Concerns?

Both these cab aggregators are taking steps to make sure both drivers and riders are safe while travelling.

Published
Tech News
3 min read
Less people are taking cabs this week, but precautions still need to be taken.
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The coronavirus outbreak has people taking extra precautions, forcing them to work from home, avoid visiting places where you have large gatherings and even stop eating outside.

All these changes have directly impacted the demand in the cab aggregator space for Ola and Uber among others. But that doesn’t mean they will stop taking measures which can ensure the safety of both their drivers as well as the passengers.

Here’s what both these companies are doing from their side, and the steps being taken to ensure the well being of their driver ecosystem.

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Ola

The company has come out with a detailed guideline that lists out things both drivers and its passengers need to do.

Ola says drivers have been given hand sanitisers and face masks for everyone's safety. It says it has trained its drivers on best practices of personal and cab hygiene and keeps them posted with the latest guidelines to be followed by the Ministry of Health and Family Affairs.

If a driver notices flu-like symptoms, they have been asked to immediately reach out to Ola's 24x7 partner care helpline. Those affected have also been advised to self quarantine or reach out for medical assistance.

Ola is also asking its passengers to use sanitisers and thoroughly wash their hands after a ride as they would have come in contact with surfaces like door-handles, seat belts etc. They've also asked riders to not dispose of any tissues inside the cab.

If you have taken a ride with Ola in the last seven days and have tested positive for COVID-19 or displaying symptoms, the company wants you to contact the customer care or in-app support system.

And if a driver tests positive, all the customers who have taken a ride with the driver will be contacted by Ola and their details will be shared with concerned authorities.

Uber

Uber's efforts are similar and they are making sure the cabs are regularly cleaned with disinfectants, which they admit are low on supply owing to the sudden increase in demand across the country.

“Supplies are very limited, but we’re partnering with manufacturers and distributors to source as much as possible. We’ll be prioritizing distribution to drivers in cities with the greatest need,” an Uber statement says here. The company is also reaching out to epidemiologists, taking their help to make sure all the medical guidelines are followed as per the authorities.

More importantly, Uber pointed out the account of affected drivers as well as riders will be temporarily suspended, making sure they don't step out in such a condition.

In addition to this, the statement also mentions that a driver infected with COVID-19 will receive financial assistance for the period during which they are quarantined and their account will be put on hold. “To ensure we are responsive to this reality, this policy is effective until 6 April 2020”, Uber added in its statement.

“We are providing financial assistance to anyone who drives or delivers with Uber and is diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed in individual quarantine by a public health authority.”
Andrew Macdonald, Senior Vice President, Rides and Platform , Uber

Interestingly, the company says it will temporarily suspend the accounts of riders or drivers confirmed to have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19.

“Uber will act on the guidance and recommendations of the local public health authorities who may ask that a rider or driver’s access to the Uber app be restricted.”
Uber spokesperson to The Quint
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Share/Pool Services Continue to Run

While these measures are much needed, it’s hard to understand both Uber and Ola’s ploy to continue running their respective share/pool services.

After all, this service caters to multiple people travelling across different destinations and that’s surely a recipe for disaster when a pandemic has wreaked havoc across the globe. We browsed through both the apps earlier today and were available to see pool services available.

Share cab services still operating in India.
Share cab services still operating in India.
(Photo: The Quint)

So when Uber decides to stop running its Pool service in other parts of the world this week, the company doesn’t feel the need to stop running it in India? That doesn’t make sense. We’re hopeful this will change in the coming days.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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