5 Tips for Using Taxis + Rideshares During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Hail a cab … without hailing COVID-19.

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Millions of people around the world depend on taxis and rideshares—like Uber and Lyft—to get around. With COVID-19, many people are avoiding use of these services (or avoiding leaving their home in general). However, if you need a lift, here are safety tips for using taxis and rideshares during COVID-19.

1. Wear a mask (and make sure your driver does as well)

Your mask protects them, and their mask protects you. Learn more about the types of face masks here.

Recently, Uber released a new “mask verification feature” on their app. When requesting a ride, the app asks you to take a selfie to prove you’re wearing a mask—and the driver does the same thing. This way, you or the driver can reject the ride if one of you is not adhering to mask requirements.

2. Space is key

Social distancing is key when using taxis and rideshares during COVID-19. Avoid pooled rides, which is when you share a car with another passenger who is taking a similar route. Even if you have a private ride, limit the number of passengers in the car.

Finally, sit as far back in the car as you can. For example, if the driver has an SUV or van, sit in the last row of seats.

3. Crack a window

Ask your driver if you can open the windows to improve ventilation. Enclosed spaces can encourage the transmission of respiratory droplets, so air ventilation is key. If the driver can control the backseat windows automatically, ask if they’ll roll it down for you. This way, you can avoid touching surfaces (see #4).

4. Keep your hands to yourself

Many drivers keep water bottles, candy, or phone-charging cords in the backseat for passengers to use. During the pandemic, it’s best to leave these alone, as these may transfer germs from other passengers who have touched them.

When possible, use touchless payment options in taxis. Otherwise, be sure to sanitize your hands after touching any payment kiosks or exchanging cash.

5. Take advantage of hand sanitizer

As much as you try to avoid touching surfaces, it’s bound to happen. At the very least, you’ll likely need to touch the door to open and close it. In these situations, use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

Remember, hand sanitizer is helpful, but it’s not as effective as washing your hands with soap and warm water. Once you arrive at your destination, wash your hands at a sink as soon as you can. Learn more dos and don’ts of handwashing here.

With these tips, you can hail a cab … without hailing COVID-19. That way, you can play your part in keeping your community safe.