Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft have sprung onto the transportation scene only in the last decade or so. For a fare competitive with that of a taxicab, you can get from point A to point B simply by tapping and swiping on your phone a few times. Of course, when ridesharing’s popularity rose as a viable option, the safety of allowing a stranger to drive civilians around was on the mind of a lot of potential riders. After all, how are you to know whether this driver has a valid license? Suppose you were to get into an accident, and the driver didn’t have insurance? But Uber and Lyft both performed (and continue to perform) standard background checks on their drivers as well as yearly submissions of license registration confirmation. Over time, riders have come to see ridesharing as virtually no different than the usual private transportation services available to them.
THEN THERE WAS COVID-19
As it has done with nearly every organization and company, the spread of the novel coronavirus has disrupted the flow of transportation services. The close-quarters nature of rideshare app services has people wondering, though, how safe is this service?
Even with a mask, the proximity of the driver to the riders is enough to cause concern. A survey taken immediately following the initial COVID-19 lockdown found that over 50 percent of the nearly 2,000 participants said they were much less likely to use Uber and Lyft services if the coronavirus had spread to their community.
UBER STARTS TO MOVE IN RESPONSE TO THE VIRUS
As of late May 2020, Uber had distributed over $19 million in financial assistance. They also sent out personal protective equipment to nearly a half-million drivers. Today, Uber and other rideshare companies continue to take precautions and supply their drivers with the resources necessary to safely provide transportation services and deliveries.
But is it enough? These companies may supply resources and communicate with their drivers but, at the end of the day, many of their drivers are contractors. Uber is not obligated to have the same authoritative relationship with their drivers as a corporation with full-time employees might.
USING AN UBER VS. USING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Despite the pandemic, the world must continue spinning. People have jobs to do and vital errands to run. For this reason, Miami public transportation services have regulations in place to potentially provide safe options for you and your loved ones. Regulations and adjustments for Miami public transportation include:
- Social distancing signs inside Metrobuses
- An increase in cleaning schedules
- Employees 65 years and older received an offer to stay at home with pay or even work from home
- Maximum occupancy of 16 passengers for each 40-foot bus
- Maximum occupancy of 36 passengers for each 60-foot articulated bus
- Standby buses are ready should routes become overcrowded
- The installation of protective shields in special transportation services
Whether public transportation is actually safer than Uber in the time of COVID-19 is a complicated question. Though, based on systems in place and the statuses of the employees, it stands to reason that Miami public transportation services are more likely to uphold accountability when sanitizing and adhering to coronavirus guidelines. After all, public transportation is driven by state funding and therefore held accountable by the people of Florida.
While rideshare companies may take necessary—and similar—precautions as public transportation, riders are ultimately trusting that their Uber driver is adhering to those precautions and doing their part to keep a safe environment.
WHO IS LIABLE IF I CONTRACT COVID-19 FROM AN UBER DRIVER?
Uber has a $1 million policy for personal injuries when their drivers are active and en route to a rider or taking that rider to their destination. While that is good news for individuals who suffer injuries in an Uber accident, who is liable when an Uber driver spreads COVID-19 to a passenger? This is when matters of negligence come into play.
Every driver has a duty to provide a safe trip to their prospective passengers and if they fail to live up to that duty, they may be considered negligent. But the truth of the matter is usually more complex and there is simply no clear-cut answer to questions of liability in an Uber accident.
Because every trip comes with its own unique circumstances, your best chance of understanding liability in a rideshare case is by turning to an Uber accident attorney who can shed light on whether you have a claim.
GET TO KNOW OUR MIAMI CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS
Led by founding attorney, Scott Aigen, Esq., Aigen Injury Law provides personal injury and wrongful death representation to clients throughout the Miami area. We offer free case evaluations and we do not collect attorney fees unless you recover compensation for your losses. Our attorneys have a track record of success and Mr. Aigen has been given distinction by the Florida Super Lawyers association.