As COVID-19 spreads throughout the world, many countries are encouraging social distancing and quarantining. On this special segment of Roads, Rails, & Rides host Jeb Morris discussed the effects of the pandemic on the transportation industry so far and what else we can expect to see.
With fewer people going to work in person or even leaving their homes for non-essential activities to prevent the spread of COVID-19, road traffic has significantly decreased. The ride share industry is deeply impacted as a result. Morris pointed out that two major ride share players, Uber and Lyft, have “definitely recognized the legitimacy of the problem.”
Lyft has already announced that they are responding to the issues raised by the pandemic. For instance, they are distributing hand sanitizer bottles to drivers. Additionally, Lyft has said they will be offering compensation packages to drivers. Morris highlighted the important of this move as drivers are contractors and don’t have sick time built in.
Many drivers are facing a significant loss of income as a result of reduced demand for ride shares during the social distancing period. Jeb said Uber reported a “15% loss of revenue” for airport ride shares alone. For workers whose only source of income is the ride share “gig,” this is especially devastating. Morris said he hoped these workers would be able to claim more of the gigs as drivers who ride share as a “side hustle” stay home to protect their other sources of income.
On the topic of public transportation, Morris said many services are increasing the frequency of cleanings. Some are adding cars to trains so that passengers can practice social distancing while riding. These public transits have to run because “healthcare workers and patients rely on it every day,” explained Morris, but they “seem to be addressing it in the best manner possible.”
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