How Uber, Lyft drivers are keeping passengers safe during the pandemic

Updated: May. 29, 2020 at 9:33 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - This weekend, if you’re headed out and about, you may be thinking of using an Uber of Lyft, that is if you can find one...

But the question on many people’s minds is: What are ride-share drivers doing to keep you safe during this pandemic?

Fredrick Ellis drives for Uber and Lyft, now for more than a year and a half. He says when the COVID-19 pandemic started, it was a bumpy ride.

“It really went rock bottom. I mean, I was going from a really great income to about half,” said Ellis.

Now, as restrictions ease up a bit across Louisiana and the stay-at-home order has lifted, he says the ride-sharing services are beginning to see a surge once again.

“It’s [ride-sharing apps] constantly busy because there’s so many drivers not on the road at the moment, so it’s nonstop at the moment,” said Ellis.

“People are going to grocery stores, going to work. I mean, once you sign into the [Lyft] app, you have a stack of rides for that whole day,” said Byron Wicker, a Lyft driver.

Wicker says it has been steady lately as well as a Lyft driver, but before each new customer comes into his car, he cleans it.

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“I make sure I wipe down all door handles, just make sure I’m wiping the whole car, and spraying really good, and making sure it’s a clean and sanitized ride,” said Wicker.

He wears a mask and keeps sanitizer handy.

Both Uber and Lyft now have guidelines put in place for both riders and drivers.

Governor John Bel Edwards addressed ride-sharing apps on Friday, May 29 as well.

“I wouldn’t get in one when I wasn’t wearing a mask in order to protect the driver from me, and I wouldn’t get in there if he wasn’t or she wasn’t wearing a mask to protect me from them,” said Gov. Edwards.

Uber is now requiring all drivers to take a picture with their mask on before they can pick up a passenger.

"I can't go through any other steps until I show I have my mask," said Ellis.

But that doesn't mean everyone, including mostly passengers, is abiding.

“Most of the passengers I pick up don’t really have a mask, and it kind of gets to the point where, do I want to turn down a ride? Because I’ll be turning down at least 20 rides because a lot of people don’t wear masks,” said Wicker.

These drivers say they’re trying to do their part to ensure you’re going to be okay while riding in their cars.

“We’re doing the best we can to be sanitized, and just wear your mask,” said Ellis.

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