A group that reps for-hire vehicle drivers wants the city to ban “pooled” Uber and Lyft rides to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The Independent Drivers Guild on Monday called for an end to the trips, which allow separate riders bound for multiple destinations to pack into cars together for a cheaper fare.
“At a time when health authorities are urging social distancing, app companies should not be packing five strangers in a van,” said Uber and Lyft driver and IDG organizer Tina Raveneau. “For everyone’s health and safety, pool rides have to go.”
The for-hire vehicle industry is taking a huge hit as New Yorkers avoid traveling for fear of spreading or catching coronavirus, with drivers saying they’ve seen a substantial dip in fares.
On March 6, Uber announced it would provide sick pay to drivers quarantined on the advice of a doctor, regardless of whether they have been diagnosed with the virus.
Lyft and other companies will only provide sick pay if a driver tests positive, the Independent Drivers Guild said.
None of the app-based ride companies has said whether they will provide compensation to drivers who are not sick but nevertheless losing business.
The city Taxi and Limousine Commission, which regulates Uber and its competitors, said in a statement it is aware of drivers’ concerns and is working on a plan.
“We are in the process of considering a number of supportive measures to aid our drivers and operators at this difficult time,” agency chief Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk said in a statement.
“We look forward to sharing them with our industry partners as soon as they’re ironed out.”