Ola and Uber have suspended their shared ride services, popularly known as pool rides, in India amidst the coronavirus outbreak to comply with the calls for social distancing. The new move comes just days after cab companies including Uber and Lyft announced the suspension of carpooling in others markets. Both Ola and Uber have continued support for essential travel through non-pool rides. However, due to increase in work from home opportunities given by private as well as public sector entities, the app-based cab companies are seeing a drastic fall in bookings.
The companies have also sent out communication to their riders ensuring hygiene measures in place to provide safe rides during the COVID-19 outbreak that has affected over 250 people in the country.
The Ola app has removed the Share option altogether. However, users can still book other cab options such as the Micro, Mini, Prime, and Exec, among others. The company has also continued to support rides through its rental and outstation services.
“Our Partner Care teams and Safety Response teams are available 24x7 for any concerns that may arise for driver-partners and customers respectively. We encourage everyone to proactively report any instance that may be symptomatic for us to help action and guide appropriately,” the company added.
Unlike Ola, Uber is still showing the Pool service on its app, though it's no longer allowing any bookings of shared cabs through its platform.
“We are determined to help reduce the spread of coronavirus in the cities we serve. With that in mind, we are suspending the Uber Pool service across India. In line with the Government advisory, we urge people to stay safe and discourage non-essential travel,” an Uber spokesperson said in a prepared statement to Gadgets 360.
Everyone from the government to the World Health Organisation is advising people to follow social distancing as COVID-19 mostly spreads person-to-person, so, the latest move from Ola and Uber would certainly help in limiting possible spread of novel coronavirus.
In a separate development, Ola on Saturday announced a coverage of Rs. 30,000 for its driver partners and their spouses affected by COVID-19 that would include a daily compensation of Rs. 1,000 for a maximum of 21 days. The company has also partnered with online doctor consultation app Mfine to provide free medical help to its driver partners and family members.