This Week: Are Rideshare and Food Delivery Essential Jobs?

Welcome back to This Week In Rideshare News! This week, we discuss whether rideshare and food felivery are being considered essential jobs, and a story about TikTok users creating fake conversations to use in creepy Uber or Lyft rides.

Are Rideshare drivers and food couriers able to drive after a stay at home order? The short answer is yes and here’s why. Los Angeles just joined the growing list of U.S. cities to introduce a stay at home order. It goes by various names. This order legally requires people to stay at home as much as possible. Unless it’s essential that they leave to do things like grocery shopping, buy gas, go to the pharmacy, by exercise or help another resident in need.

In addition, under this order, people with non essential jobs are required to work from home, or in some cases they’ve just lost their job. Now residents can however still order food for delivery from restaurants and take Uber and Lyft for essential travel, which means, fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you see it, that Rideshare is considered an essential job because it falls in transportation and in some cases in the food delivery category.

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In addition workers for Caviar, Postmates, Instacart, DoorDash, Uber Eats, AmazonFresh and all those countless courier jobs are still on the hook for delivering food to people. And both groups of people are extremely at risk for contracting the virus and it’s not entirely clear how the industry will respond to that should folks who are continuing to do their job become ill. My belief is in the coming weeks we will see how that plays out.

I’ve compiled a list of things that Rideshare industry is doing in response to COVID-19. First and foremost, Lyft, Uber, Instacart, Postmates, and several others have set up funds for drivers who are diagnosed with the virus or those who are ordered to be in quarantine. Lyft said that they will send out sanitizer, but no one has received it yet. So if you received it, let us know in the comments.

Both Lyft and Uber have suspended shared pull options to reduce the number of people in close quarters in their cars. That’s a big yay. Lyft has announced on Friday that they’re partnering with government and healthcare providers for contact list delivery on medical supplies and test kits. Now they’re also delivering food to vulnerable populations as the virus spreads. And they are introducing new ways for drivers to make money through an initiative they call Lyft Up.

Now that’s a task force of drivers that will opt-in to help neighbors get to grocery stores, workers to hospitals and caretakers to their jobs. Those rides are optional and paid for. Lyft riders will also be able to pick up meals for distribution to seniors and children who previously received reduced priced lunch. In some places, Uber has lifted their driver cruising restriction, temporarily removed this. It’s a lockout restriction which booted drivers from the app when they reached areas without enough riders. Well, they have to change that definitely.

Both Uber and Lyft has shut down their hubs and moved all support online. All food couriers have announced one way or another that the support is impacted by increased demand, but they all will remain in place to help service the gig economy workers out there. Uber has announced that starting Tuesday it will discount trips that need to visit food distribution centers set up, now the Bay area.

I’ve included a list of the active centers below. I will add to this list in the coming weeks so that you can be abreast of what’s going on in the industry. And also so I won’t have to repeat myself every week. Gig workers rising put together a COVID-19 guide for California drivers, but it’s still a good resource for anyone that is interested for your reference. The document includes, what is COVID-19, tips for Rideshare drivers. Tips for food delivery workers and shoppers, tips for consumers accessing medical care, their community resources, applying for benefits, taking action and demand protections for gig workers. That link is in the description. Please take a look at it when you have a moment. Teens on TikTok are making fake conversation videos that people can play if they’re feeling unsafe in an Uber or Lyft.

[inaudible 00:04:35], answer your damn phone. I have your location on and I can see you just got into the car. We were supposed to leave 15 minutes ago. I’m going to send Stephen outside, and he’s going to be waiting for you, all right. Call me back. Answer your phone for once. Bye.

I have a question. Why not just call somebody?

Hey, sorry for calling you again. I just want you to know I finally am home and I got your food, so hurry up before it gets cold. Oh yeah. By the way, charge your phone, I see that it’s at 50%. Remember you downloaded Life360, I can see your location and battery. Daisy, Daisy, Daisy be quiet. Daisy. Okay, I see you’re almost home, so I’ll just talk to you in a bit. All right. See you.

Well, I guess this would be good if you’re not sure if someone’s going to pick up the phone or if that person may not respond in the way that may for a kidnapping or whatever it is that you suspect could be going wrong. But if you guys hear one of these recordings, chances are you didn’t leave a good impression on one of your riders.

Well, while it seems that the coronavirus has brought so much change to the industry, you may see an initiative that’s here to stay, no contact deliveries. I went on Twitter this week and I could not find one person or too many people that were complaining about these no contact deliveries. I had no idea that people didn’t want to interact with one another. I mean, to be honest, to be a person that’s actually delivered food before, that is the part that I dread the most. The handoff. Even though it is a few seconds, it’s still kind of weird and funny enough, that’s how folks that order food feel.

And so I guess with the no contact, we don’t have to interact. We don’t have the weirdness, the awkwardness. No one said anything about being saved from the virus. Most of the people were just happy to not have that awkward interaction. How do you guys feel about no contact deliveries? Do you want to go back to the old way or would you want to keep it like this after the virus clears up? Let me know in the comments.

If you like this video, give me a thumbs up. If you’re not subscribed, please subscribe right now. I’m here every single Saturday, 5:00 AM Pacific Standard Time. You can also follow me on my own channel and hit me up on Facebook. That is Drive Girl Drive. Or you could just type in Drive Girl Drive. That’ll work too. Take it easy, please be safe and I’ll see you again next week. Bye.



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