Uber is stepping up its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, promising 10 million free rides and food supplies for health staff, senior citizens and others affected by the outbreak.
Uber also offers free rides and food deliveries to NHS staff in the UK who are battling the virus. Now the company is looking to extend this global offering. Uber says “every company, health care provider, or government agency is exempt,” even though it still operates through a lot of stakeholders. A spokesperson said the company is already thinking about free rides and deliveries with nearby food banks.
“Uber is effective in the upcoming months to deliver these meals and rides on a scale and customize the deal based on the most urgent, local needs,” a spokesperson said. “And we cover up the expenses of availing food, meals, and transportation facilities like: free Eating meals, the cost of driving or transporting food from a food bank, fees to drivers and couriers, etc.” Hospitals, community centers and those interested in signing up for free transportation or food delivery can contact Uber at [email protected].
The news comes as the pandemic has caused Uber to see a precipitous decline in ridership. The gross bookings of the business in Seattle, a city hit hard by the novel Coronavirus, are down 60 to 70 percent, and Uber expects similar declines in other major cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City.
The organization offers financial support to drivers who have contracted COVID-19 or whose accounts have been suspended or ordered to quarantine by public health authorities — although some drivers have experienced difficulties asking the ride-hailing service for assistance.
Many Uber drivers struggle to make money, with people being urged to stay at home to stop excessive travel. President Trump’s $2 trillion stimulus package, signed last week, extends health benefits, such as unemployment insurance, to previously unavailable classes such as contract employees.