Lyft is giving more drivers plexiglass shields to prevent the spread of germs between the front seat and rear seat areas of cars, the company announced in a blog post Friday (July 17).
The move is part of the company's Health Safety Program, which it said is based on guidelines by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC recommends the use of such shields, Lyft said.
Lyft already provided shields to its busiest drivers, the company said.
“Following positive feedback from drivers and riders, we’re now providing partitions to additional drivers in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, Phoenix, Dallas and New York City. In the next month, we will have made tens of thousands of partitions available to U.S. drivers for free, with the goal of providing 50 percent ride coverage in these markets,” the company wrote.
“Our mission to improve lives with the world’s best transportation begins with health and safety — and that’s never been more important than it is right now,” the post states. “We recently established new health and safety standards for rideshare with the launch of Lyft’s Health Safety Program, based on CDC guidelines.”
The program includes a requirement that drivers and passengers assert they are symptom-free before trips and wear face masks during trips.
Like other transportation providers, Lyft saw a dip in service after COVID-19 struck. Ridership began to return in May.
Earlier this month, Lyft began providing partitions to frequent drivers, as well as those in our Express Drive rental program, in Atlanta, Denver and Baltimore.
Lyft will make shields available to purchase for any driver. The company also is selling them “affordable” personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies. The company said it sells them to drivers at no profit.
“Our community is counting on us to put their health and safety first,” said Angie Westbrock, vice president of global operations and head of Lyft’s COVID-19 Response Task Force, in a prepared statement. “By prioritizing the wellbeing of our drivers, our entire community gains extra peace of mind. We’re setting the bar for health and safety in rideshare and will continue to expand our programs and products to continue raising that bar.”
While battling problems caused by the virus, Lyft also is dealing with legal hassles in Massachusetts and California based on the company's classification of drivers as contractors rather than employees.