An Uber driver wearing a protective glove is seen in the Manhattan borough following the outbreak of coronavirus disease
An Uber driver wearing a protective glove is seen in the Manhattan borough following the outbreak of coronavirus disease

Coronavirus: Uber services will be operating on 'availability of the drivers'

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Mar 16, 2020

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Cape Town - Uber confirmed that its services will be operating depending on the availability of the drivers - as they work independently - amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

This comes from an Uber spokesperson who did however confirm that the company has temporarily closed its Greenlight Hubs across South Africa. 

The Greenlight Hubs are where drivers can go to get in-person help with answering questions and completing forms, and its closure is done in an effort to help lessen the spread of the coronavirus.

Uber said it has a dedicated global team, guided by the advice of a consulting public health expert and public health organisations, working to respond as needed in each market where they operate around the world.

An Uber spokesperson said based on the advice of public health authorities, "our goal is to help flatten the curve on community spread in the cities we serve".

They said they want to protect the driver community, as well as the Uber customer support experts who help them every day, by temporarily closing their Greenlight Hubs across South Africa to encourage social distancing.

"We recognize this may create challenges for drivers and we are further expanding online and phone support options.”

Uber said the Greenlight Hubs in South Africa will close beginning from Tuesday, March 17 through Monday, April 6.

"We will be supporting those Greenlight Hub employees during the closure. Our teams will continue to handle drivers’ questions and concerns over the phone and in the app."

They estimated 95% of the issues that come into Greenlight Hubs could be resolved over the phone and online. "We are building contingency plans to address the remaining support issues."

"We are working to provide drivers with access to 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 has provided drivers and delivery people more info on how they can access financial assistance if they are diagnosed with Covid-19 or placed in individual quarantine by a public health authority."

Uber said twice in the past month, including most recently on Tuesday, Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi sent information and guidance to riders and drivers as well as Uber Eats customers and delivery people.

The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) is planning a press conference on Wednesday where its President will outline taxi industry national programme on coronavirus and what structures would be put in place to ensure effective communication and urgent response to potential emergencies.


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Cape Argus

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