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Uber and Lyft suspend Pool and Shared rides amid COVID-19 outbreak

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Posted at 12:31 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 14:17:29-04

Both Uber and Lyft are suspending their Pool and Shared ride options as the companies work to limit personal interactions amid the outbreak of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

Uber was first to announce Tuesday morning that it’s suspending its Pool option in the United States, Canada, London and Paris. The Pool option matches riders heading in the same direction, so they can share the ride and cost.

“Our goal is to help flatten the curve of community spread in the cities we serve,” wrote Uber’s SVP for Rides and Platform, Andrew MacDonald in a statement.

MacDonald says Uber is also sending in-app messages to riders reminding them to travel only when necessary and to take steps to protect themselves and their drivers.

“We want to help ensure the safety of everyone in our cities, while being available for essential travel needs,” wrote MacDonald. “We are in contact with local leaders globally and expect to take similar action when needed elsewhere. Stay safe and please use Uber responsibly.

Uber says it’s also working to provide its drivers with disinfectants to help them keep their cars clean.

“Supplies are very limited, but we’re partnering with manufacturers and distributors to source as much as possible,” Uber wrote. “We’ll be prioritizing distribution to drivers in cities with the greatest need.”

Lyft followed Uber’s lead on Tuesday and announced that it’s pausing the company’s Shared rides across all of its markets.

“The health and safety of the Lyft community is our top priority, and we’re dedicated to doing what we can to slow the spread of COVID-19. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and base our actions on official guidance," said a Lyft spokesperson in a statement.

The White House has advised Americans to practice social distancing to help stop the spread of the virus. And on Monday, President Donald Trump released new guidelines that included the recommendation to avoid groups larger than 10.

Click here to learn more about COVID-19 and how you can help prevent spreading the virus further.