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Utah rideshare drivers feeling the impact of COVID-19

They're reporting a drop in ride requests as Uber and Lyft urge essential travel only
Posted: 8:17 AM, Mar 22, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-22 10:17:50-04

As the fight to stop the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues, it's starting to take a toll on rideshare drivers.

This comes as Lyft and Uber put into place new measures to protect both drivers and riders.

Drivers in Utah say they're seeing a significant drop in ride requests as more people practice self-isolation and social distancing.

Troy Harget is just one of many rideshare drivers Fox 13 has spoken with who say they're still trying to make a living, and Harget says it's getting tougher each and every day.

"Over the last few weeks, the ride requests have gone down a lot. This week especially, we’ve gone from say 25 rides down to 10 or 11," says Harget.

He also says on average he would usually make about $1,500 dollars weekly, but this week he has only managed to make around $600.

Now he says he's doing everything he can to reassure riders it's okay to ride with him and other drivers.

Harget says riders have asked him what he's doing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 while driving people around and he says he is using Clorox wipes after every ride to clean down the seats and disinfect the rest of his car as he goes.

Meanwhile, both Uber and Lyft have made policy changes that they think will help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Lyft says they have partnered with EO Products to distribute more than 200,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies to drivers, at no cost to them.

They say they will continue to alert drivers when they are available in their city.

Lyft also says if they are told about a driver (or rider) testing positive for COVID-19, they will be temporarily suspended from using Lyft until they are medically cleared.

They go on to say that if this were to happen, they will also follow guidance from the CDC and local health authorities to identify other individuals who may have been impacted.

While ride demand is temporarily down, Lyft says it is actively expanding its services to include delivery partnerships with healthcare, government, and businesses to create new opportunities for drivers who are interested and able to drive.

Lyft says it will also provide income to drivers should they be diagnosed with COVID-19 or put under individual quarantine by a public health agency.

They also say they will provide funds to affected drivers based on the rides that drivers provided on the Lyft platform over the last four weeks.

Uber has similar policies in place when it comes to suspending accounts, working to provide cleaning supplies, and giving financial support.

"It reassures me that if I happen to catch it as I'm going on rides with people, that I do have somewhat of a safety net," says Harget.

Uber and Lyft are also reminding riders to only travel via ridesharing when absolutely necessary, from the moment users open their app.

Regardless of the drop in rides and income, Harget says he's going to keep driving because he knows how important it can be for those who use the service.

"I feel that it’s a need for people to have this opportunity. Some people actually need the rideshare so I’m obviously here to facilitate," says Harget.

For more on how both rideshare companies are making changes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, visit Uber and Lyft's websites.