What Can Uber/Lyft Drivers Do if Passengers Don’t Wear a Mask?

Uber and Lyft have a policy that requires drivers and riders to wear masks. What can you do if a passenger isn’t wearing one, or refuses to wear one?

I know this is a controversial topic and we’ll try not to get too political with it, but it’s the company policy. They’re private companies, so if you want to work for them, you have to do what they say if you want to keep driving.

Here’s how I’d handle the mask issue, some comments from readers, and advice for drivers.

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No Mask? How to Defuse a Tense Situation

I don’t plan on driving right now, but as drivers start to get back on the road, I think I would handle the mask situation in a similar way to how I handle other situations.

It’s all about defusing sticky situations. Kind of like when a passenger gets into your car with a bottle of alcohol, or a minor comes up and asks for a ride. I think these are actually two specific situations that we cover in the course.

Whenever you kind of encounter an unruly passenger, you always want to start with trying to defuse the situation, because in the end you actually want to give these rides. You want passengers who comply, cause it’s going to make you more money. It’s going to allow you to do more trips per hour. If you have to cancel on a person, you may or may not get that cancellation fee.

But ultimately you’re probably going to make more than the minimum $3.80 you get from a cancellation fee after giving the ride. So I think generally you actually always want to do the ride.

You Can Place the Blame on Uber & Lyft

First of all, I think that it’s important to tell people that the mask is for your safety and mine. You can also blame it on Uber and Lyft in a way says, “Hey, this is company policy. They require both drivers and riders to wear it. And unfortunately, if I give you and you’re not wearing a mask, I could actually be deactivated from the platform.”

I think some riders may not want to wear a mask because they feel it’s a personal issue. But if you turn it into an issue that now affects you, instead of arguing with them about whether it’s safe or not, you can say, “I could actually get fired from Uber from doing this.” Whether that’s true or not, who cares. You’re trying to defuse the situation with the passenger.

You Can Provide Cheap Masks

I think everyone should have three or four cheap medical mask in their car for any passengers who maybe they forgot a mask. Maybe they just didn’t have one on that day and they need one.

You can obviously cancel on them and not give them that ride. But if you actually want to give that ride, it doesn’t cost you much to give them a 25 cent mask. You’re not going to have to do it for every single passenger. So that’s sort of how I would handle that.

I liked Jonathan’s comment here. He says, masks, seatbelts, alcohol, it’s all the same respectfully, let them know before we get going. You want to be the captain of your ship. You don’t want people to come in and push you around, but you want to be respectful. You want to be somewhat forceful. That’s how I would handle that.

Melody says, “Harry, you shouldn’t drive, you have a new baby at home.” I’m not sure when I would do my next Uber trip, but I think that’s something we’re all thinking about. Right now cases in California are spiking and there’s just a lot of uncertainty. Especially with a new baby in the house I personally, would rather not put myself or my family at risk.

I know Jay is living with his elderly mother right now and taking care of her and he doesn’t want to get her sick or compromise her in any way. So he’s doing the safe thing there.

For me, I’m always thinking about where can I get a high ROI. I’m not going to go give every passenger a mask, but I’m going to spend five bucks on a box of masks so that if someone comes and they don’t have a mask, I can help them out.

Maybe you say, “Hey, I can’t give you a ride unless you wear a mask, would you like to have free one?” They might give you an extra trip tip and it makes up for the cost of the mask.

Should You Avoid Potential Problem Riders?

David says, “No. Riders don’t give a damn, they’d rather give you a negative feedback.”

We’ve all had those shitty riders who no matter what you do, will give you a bad rating. But you can often tell those guys from the beginning. And if you’re someone who really cares about your rating or you’re sort of now hovering around a 4.7, 4.6, you might want to be more careful and not even take someone like that from the first place. But if you’re getting a low rating here and there I don’t think it’s too big of a deal.

Bernadine says, “Lyft here in Austin, Texas requires a driver and passengers wear a mask and ride with the windows down and not using circulating air on your AC.”

I know that masks are a requirement for drivers and passengers, I believe for both Uber and Lyft in every state. I’d be surprised if they made you ride with windows down. I think it’s more of a suggestion. If you’re in Phoenix or Texas where it’s going to be over a hundred degrees, riding with the windows down is not the best idea.

N95 or Medical Masks?

Masks used to be reserved for medical workers, but now there are a lot easier to find. People are now selling N95 masks. I’ve tried a couple and found a brand that fits well. So the nice thing about the N95, is that it prevents you from spreading germs to other people, and it also prevents other germs from spreading to you.

Whereas the medical mask is more for preventing you from spreading germs to other people. Ruda says it’s purely a health issue. Jay says the point is to get the air circulating. So the virus can’t land, you know, I totally understand the point of keeping the windows down.

How Will You Handle Mask Enforcement?

Papa Smurf says, “No mask, no ride.” As drivers start to get back on the road, I think there’s going to be a lot of issues with mask enforcement. So I’m curious to know what have experienced, what you’re thinking, and how are you going to handle a passenger that comes in and doesn’t have a mask or refuses to wear one.

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