As cab-aggregators begin resuming operations in Lockdown 4.0, Uber said it will restrict use of ‘Uber Go’ to just two riders.
As cab-aggregators begin resuming operations in Lockdown 4.0, Uber said it will restrict use of ‘Uber Go’ to just two riders. The decision is in compliance with the Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines for cab aggregators and the interest of social distancing amid the nationwide lockdown and its phased lifting.
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“Uber Go is now limited to just two passengers,” said Rebecca Payne, Uber’s senior product manager for safety, while addressing journalists at a virtual press briefing. “We are making the change to promote physical distancing on all ride types, which means every ride on Uber Go is now limited to two people,” she added. The front-seat of every Uber ride will stay vacant, the company added.
In March, Uber cancelled its Uber Pool option as the world and India began waking up to the reality of the COVID-19 crisis. While Uber and other cab aggregators were restricted from operating during the first two phases of the lockdown from March 24 to May 3, Lockdown 3.0 saw the government allowing operations in designated “green zones”.
While MHA guidelines for Lockdown 4.0 allow cab aggregators to operate in all but containment zones, they clearly state that not more than two passengers will be allowed to board a cab. A final call on these restrictions, the government said, would be taken by respective state governments. States like Tamil Nadu, for instance, have not permitted cab aggregators to re-start operations in red zones like Chennai.
“We foresee that in the future, we will be able to lift a lot of these restrictions including masks, cleaning requirements and having two passengers in the back,” said Sachin Kansal, Senior Director (Safety) at Uber, “The timing (for the lifting of restrictions) is still unclear to us, but as of now we are erring on the side of safety because that is what is required at this time of a new normal.”
Masks on at all times
Uber also announced a list of other safety measures that it would roll out in India starting Monday, including the need for drivers and riders to wear masks at all times. Uber has also mandated that drivers sanitize cars regularly and refuse or report a passenger for not wearing a face mask.
Drivers would also be required to comply with a COVID-19 safety check list pertaining to mask-wearing and sanitization before they accept rides. Each driver will verify compliance by sending across selfies before starting their day.
Passengers, on their part, will have the option of reporting drivers for violations. The company added that all driver-partners have been advised to download the Centre’s Aarogya Setu app.