Uber just made a huge change to its service in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.
According to a report from Reuters, Uber has bowed to growing pressure to halt pooled rides in the United States and Canada, a service that allows riders to save money by booking trips with up to three other passengers travelling in the same direction.
“Our goal is to help flatten the curve on community spread in the cities we serve,” confirmed Uber Rides and Platform senior vice president Andrew Macdonald. “We remain in close contact with local leaders and will continue to work with them to discourage non-essential travel.”
From today, Uber riders in the U.S. and Canada will also start seeing a message in the app asking them whether their trip is essential, and they will also be asked to wash their hands before and after rides and to improve the ventilation by rolling down windows.
Uber users in the U.S. and Canada will also receive a message reminding them to consider if the ride they plan to book is essential and to “travel only when necessary.”
Uber Eats, the company’s food delivery platform, remained available and was helping its “community” to stay safe from the coronavirus pandemic. It provided over 300,000 free meals to health-care workers and first responders helping combat the virus. Uber Eats was also waiving delivery fees for small businesses in some of its markets.
At writing time, Uber’s competitor Lyft still offers shared rides on its platform.