Medical experts agree: wearing a mask can help slow the spread of COVID-19. That’s why, since May, we have required riders, drivers, and delivery people to wear a mask or face cover when using Uber. Today, we’re building on these efforts with several new features and initiatives to help ensure we are all protecting one another.
Earlier this year, we built innovative technology designed to verify that drivers on Uber and delivery people on Uber Eats are wearing a mask. Before starting to drive passengers or deliver food, they are asked to take a selfie showing their mouth and nose are covered. To date, more than 3.5 million drivers and delivery people have completed more than 100 million mask verifications.
We firmly believe that accountability is a two-way street. That’s why we’re expanding the same technology to riders, too. If a driver reports to us that a rider wasn’t wearing a mask, the rider will be required to take a selfie with their face covered before they’re able to take another trip with Uber. With the addition of this new feature, one driver’s feedback can help ensure the safety of Uber for the next driver.
The mask verification feature will roll out to the US and Canada by the end of September, and across Latin America and other countries after that. (As with the driver mask verification tool, this technology detects the mask as an object in the photo and does not process biometric information.)
As always, riders and drivers are free to cancel a trip, without penalty, if the other person isn’t wearing a mask. As more and more riders and drivers take their “second first trip,” we hope this increased accountability provides more peace of mind.
Health and Safety Supplies for Drivers
Since March, we have sourced nearly 30 million masks and face covers. Globally, we have distributed masks to 1.4 million drivers and delivery people free of charge. We will continue to provide these critical supplies to drivers and delivery people at no charge for at least the remainder of 2020.
In addition, we’ve provided more than 800,000 packages of disinfectant sprays, wipes, and hand sanitizer to drivers at no cost, including through our partnerships with Clorox, Unilever, and Dettol—with millions more on the way.
Drivers can easily order free masks and other supplies through the dedicated COVID-19 Hub in their app. Distribution varies by region, but in the US and Canada drivers can have the items shipped to their home or can choose to pick them up at one of our Uber Greenlight driver support hubs.
Wash, Wear, Air: A New Safety Ritual
In a crisis, clear, simple and consistent communication is key. Earlier this year, we worked with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization to develop COVID safety tips specific to ridesharing.
Now, as more people are going back to work and school, we’re deploying a comprehensive education campaign to encourage riders and drivers to follow three simple steps on every trip:
Wash: Wash or sanitize your hands before you ride
Wear: Wear a face cover or mask
Air: Sit in the back seat and roll down your window for airflow
We believe critical safety information should not be proprietary, so we are making these tips, illustrations and creative assets available to any organization to promote safety in their own communities.
We’ve already teamed up with the National PTA (National Parent Teacher Association) and the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) to share this information with students, teachers and public safety officials across the US and Canada. We look forward to working together with more organizations to spread this important safety message. Organizations can find more information here.
When it comes to safety, we know our work is never done. That’s why we continue to develop new technology to help drivers stay safe. Wherever you’re traveling, we are committed to helping make every trip and delivery safe for all.