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Uber suspends shared rides as coronavirus continues to spread

March 17, 2020, 2:43 PM UTC

Uber is suspending pooled rides in North America as the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to spread.

The ride-share service on Tuesday shut down its Uber Pool option, which let up to four people share a ride (and save money) when they were headed in the same general direction. As the CDC and governments warn against gatherings, the company decided the convenience was too big a risk.

“Our goal is to help flatten the curve of community spread in the cities we serve,” Andrew Macdonald, senior vice president of Uber rides and platform, said in a statement. “We remain in close contact with local leaders and will continue to work with them to discourage nonessential travel.”

The move comes after a labor group for Uber and Lyft drivers called on the ride-sharing services to stop the practice amid the pandemic. Lyft, as of Tuesday morning, still offers shared rides. Gig workers have also petitioned the companies for paid sick leave so they don’t have to worry about financial hardships should they become sick.

Uber’s likely to make up for any losses from the cessation of Uber Pool with an uptick in business from Uber Eats. As more and more people settle in at home, the company’s food delivery business has seen an uptick in business.

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