Automotive > Connected Mobility Blog

Dara Seeks Jab Priority for Uber Drivers

by Roger Lanctot | Dec 14, 2020

Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has put the word out to individual states in the U.S. seeking prioritization for Uber drivers, who he characterizes appropriately as frontline workers. It's true that Uber drivers - along with Lyft drivers, taxi drivers generally, and delivery vehicle drivers are all frontline workers as are healthcare workers, emergency responders, retail and public transport employees, workers in meatpacking and car making factories and on and on and let's not forget the folks at the post office.

One need look no further than a report from pymnts.com to grasp the boldness or maybe the temerity of Khosrowshahi's request. The pymnts.com report notes that the U.S. state of Florida is expected to receive between 500,000 and 1M vaccine doses for its residents. Uber, alone, has about 236,000 drivers in the state, more than any other. The state has more than one million licensed healthcare workers and approximately 146,000 long-term-care residents, according to Reuters, citing data from the Florida Health Department.

The figures vary widely by state, but suffice it to say there is no possible rationale for allowing Uber drivers to receive one quarter to one half of all the initial vaccine doses shipped to Florida. There are too many other higher priority recipients including residents of long-term care facilities, residents suffering from pre-existing conditions that make them vulnerable, and healthcare workers and first responders.

The larger issue, though, is that Uber has been a lousy corporate citizen throughout the crisis. Unlike other ride hailing operators, Uber has taken no steps to provide or require partitions in the vehicle operated by its contractor employees. There has also been no effort made by Uber to have its drivers tested and to communicate those test results to potential passengeers.

Uber has cooperated with municipal authorities trying to track and trace those that have been in contact with infected individuals, but it is unclear whether Uber has instituted a program of alerting drivers who have transported potentially infected passengers. Clearly, any such drivers should have been designated for quarrantine and kicked off the platform temporarily.

Uber has done little or nothing to combat the pandemic with the sole exception of requiring drivers and passengers to mask up. If anything, Uber has likely been an anonymous vector spreading infection via its passengers throughout the markets where it operates around the world.

For Uber to now request some kind of priority treatment when it comes to Covid-19 vaccination given its history of abusing drivers and failing to protect passengers, well, maybe temerity isn't the right word. Maybe chutzpah? impudence? audacity? presumption? Pick one. Unfortunately for Uber drivers, there are too many other individuals with better reasons to be at the front of the Covid-19 vaccine line and without the burden of a corporate outlaw masquerading as a caring sponsor.

Previous Post: Mobility Lives! Car Sharing Shines! | Next Post: No iCar for Me, Thank You

Let's talk

Now you know a little about us, get in touch and tell us what your business problem is.
Name:
Email:
Telephone:
Country:
Inquiry / Message: