Drivers for uber uber -3.76%
Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc.
faced with challenges as front-line workers during the health crisis are facing a new test related to the pandemic: states are abolishing the mandate for masks.
Travel exchange companies are demanding that riders continue to wear masks. But drivers, who also have to be in masks, say the rules are becoming harder to enforce as state and local authorities seek a broad resumption of work, leading to friction between concert workers and passengers.
Late last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said more than 90 percent of Americans live in areas where they can shed facial indoors, but recommended wearing them in shared cabins. California, Massachusetts and New York recently joined a growing number of states to repeal indoor mask mandates.
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Tensions between drivers and racers coupled with rising petrol prices are discouraging many workers from returning to work on road trips, hampering Uber and Lyft’s efforts to alleviate annual labor shortages that have kept prices high.
“It’s not worth it anymore,” said Anvoar Malik, a driver in New York, who added that he had cut rides because of health problems, rising crime and inflation. Mr Malik said earlier this month, after a long break, he had transported passengers and found that many were reluctant to wear face masks. “It’s getting worse,” he said.
Uber spokesman Andrew Hasbun said drivers’ complaints about unmasked passengers remained relatively unchanged in February – when several states announced plans to cancel their masked mandates by March – compared to previous months.
Uber and Lyft camouflage policies are based on CDC rules for shared taxis. “Riders and drivers who repeatedly violate our” No Mask “. No Ride policy continues to risk losing access to Uber, ”he said. Lyft spokeswoman Ashley Adams said “drivers have full support to give up any trip that makes them feel dangerous.”
Many Uber and Lyft drivers switched to delivering food and other jobs during the pandemic, frightened by health problems from using cars with people, and inconsistencies in wages when new options emerged. Companies have spent millions of dollars giving bonuses to drivers that have helped them eliminate labor shortages. Earlier, Uber said it was giving up those incentives, but CEO Dara Khosrowsahi said Monday at Morgan Stanley that she expects some to continue.
Mr. Khosravshahi discussed the pain of rising fuel prices; drivers themselves pay for gas. He said any 20% increase in gas prices could be offset by a 1% increase in fares for passengers. According to Mr. Khosrovshahi, this calculation will keep the driver’s income and Uber’s salaries at the same level. He was not asked about the mandates of the mask.
Some drivers say they are fired for insisting on masks. Companies do not inform drivers why they were rejected, which makes it difficult to verify the reasons.
Sulaymon Brown, an Uber driver from Charleston, SC, said he refused to carry a passenger without a mask and reported the violation to Uber so he could get compensation for his time. He said a spokesman said the company would warn the passenger of the violation. Mr Brown said his account was suspended later that day. A summary of his driver account shows a 4.87 star rating out of 5 out of more than 1,500 trips over the past six years.
“It looks good in the letter. They say: “Without a mask”. Without driving. But if you do it, you get fired because the passenger accuses you of something you didn’t do, ”Mr Brown said. He said car sharing could be risky in his state, where official figures show just over 50% of residents are fully vaccinated; The CDC says 65.2% of people nationwide are fully vaccinated. According to him, exchanges with passengers often caught fire.
“They say,‘ Why are you the only one asking us to wear masks? We don’t wear it to the supermarket or the school, so they look at you like you’re weird, “he said. Mr. Brown doesn’t drive Uber anymore.
Mr Hasbun of Uber said Mr Brown’s account had been suspended following numerous complaints from riders. He declined to give details.
Uber and Lyft say drivers ’accounts have been suspended depending on the nature of the complaints received. Complaints of sexual abuse cause an instant cessation, while less serious complaints can escalate over time, leading to temporary or permanent suspension.
Drivers say companies will not explain why they were suspended, or view their personal video recorders if they do not face trial. “It’s very upsetting,” said Jared Hoff, head of development at Chicago-based LegalRideShare LLC, a trauma firm representing the concerns. Mr Hoffa said his firm had been approached by dozens of drivers over the past year, who said they had been the subject of false complaints from riders, which they said were due to disagreements over face masks.
Some passengers without masks in response reported that the driver was not in the mask, knowing it would have consequences for drivers, he said.
Companies say they are looking for ways to back up the claims of drivers and racers. In December, Uber said it would run audio recordings in the app during the trip, which could help it investigate complaints. The pilot takes place in three US cities in the Midwest and South.
Some drivers say they carry passengers without masks, even though they consider it a security risk because they need the money.
Miami-based Lyft driver David Solomon said his account was suspended several times during the pandemic, most recently last month. Mr Solomon said the suspensions came after he asked passengers to wear face masks.
“I would say that seven out of 10 passengers here do not wear masks, and most of them – 80% or 90% – do not even have masks on their wrists or necks,” he said. “They don’t like it when they are told what to do.”
Mr Solomon stopped driving due to an injury late last year and was again dismissed in February. “It was a big blow because you are hoping for that money to survive,” he said.
Mr Solomon said he had returned to driving and was taking passengers without masks to avoid friction and the possibility of losing his job again. Ms Adams of Lyft declined to comment on his case.
Amendments and reinforcements
Andrew Hasbun is an Uber spokesman. In an earlier version of this article his last name was misspelled with a second reference as Hasburn. (Corrected March 10)
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