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Uber and Lyft suspend carpool option to help prevent coronavirus spread

Uber and Lyft are temporarily suspending their carpool options amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, effective immediately. 

The rideshare companies announced the decision on Tuesday, March 17. In a time of prioritizing social distancing, the carpool option isn’t exactly the most sensible, as it permits up to four separate riders to share the same ride for a lower fare price.

“Our goal is to help flatten the curve of community spread in the cities we serve. With that in mind, we are suspending the Uber Pool service in the United States and Canada,” said Andrew Macdonald, senior vice president of Uber Rides and Platform, in the company’s official statement.

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A Lyft spokesperson said they are monitoring the situation based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Lyft is pausing Shared rides across all of our 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,” a spokesperson told Digital Trends.

Uber also announced that riders in the U.S. and Canada would start to receive a message when they open the app reminding them to “flatten the curve” when it comes to spreading the coronavirus and to “travel only when necessary.” 

Rideshare companies have taken precautions regarding the coronavirus outbreak in recent weeks. Last week, Uber said it’s working with various public health organizations in deciding whether or not to temporarily suspend the accounts of riders and drivers if they test positive for the coronavirus. 

Uber’s detailed policy on the coronavirus also includes providing drivers with disinfectant supplies (while they last) and giving people the option to have food delivery left at their door to limit person-to-person contact. 

In total, there have been more than 185,060 confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide, and 7,330 confirmed deaths, according to an online dashboard. The World Health Organization officially declared it a pandemic last week. The virus is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, but there have been confirmed cases in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, and more countries around the globe. It has caused massive travel discrepancies, tech company closures, significant event cancellations, and more.

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