Mar 13, 2020 - Technology

Uber temporarily closes local hubs for drivers amid virus outbreak

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Uber has temporarily closed its U.S. and Canada Greenlight Hubs, where drivers can go to get in-person help with answering questions and completing forms, in an effort to help lessen the spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Uber and other gig economy companies have faced mounting questions over how they'll help their thousands of drivers (who are not employees) given the very social nature of their work.

Details: Uber is suspending operations at 80 Greenlight Hubs across the U.S. and Canada.

  • The hubs close today and are slated to remain shuttered through April 6.

What they're saying: Uber says most issues handled in person at the hubs can be managed online or via phone, and will compensate employees who can't do their jobs from home.

"Based on the advice of public health authorities, our goal is to help flatten the curve on community spread in the cities we serve. We want to protect the driver community, as well as the Uber customer support experts who help them every day, by temporarily closing our Greenlight Hubs in the US and Canada to encourage social distancing. We recognize this may create challenges for drivers and are further expanding online and phone support options."
— Uber spokesperson

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Uber Pool service halted amid coronavirus outbreak

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Uber suspended its Uber Pool service in the United States and Canada in an attempt to help protect riders and drivers from the novel coronavirus pandemic, the company announced Tuesday, per TechCrunch.

What they're saying: “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, told BuzzFeed in a statement. “We remain in close contact with local leaders and will continue to work with them to discourage non-essential travel.”

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How Uber will compensate drivers affected by COVID-19

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Uber released more details about how it will compensate drivers affected by COVID-19, which will be based on their average daily earnings over the last six months.

Why it matters: Ride-hailing and delivery drivers are among the most vulnerable as the virus spreads, both because of the very social nature of their jobs and because they don't qualify for sick leave as independent contractors.