ride-hailing services

Ride-Hailing Apps Cracking Down on Repeat Violators Who Don't Wear Masks

NBC Universal, Inc.

Ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft have required drivers and riders to wear masks for the last several months because of the pandemic. Now, these companies are using special technology to crack down on reported violators. 

“Riders, they don’t really want to wear a mask, some of them," said Uber driver Fabio Saenz. “They get mad when you tell them you can’t bring them in.”

A rider even kicked his car, Saenz said.

Uber says accountability is a two-way street. The company released a new video to demonstrate its latest policy that starting Thursday, riders who have received a complaint for not wearing a mask will have to take a selfie before their next ride. 

The app uses special technology to verify the rider is actually wearing a mask.

It’s already a requirement for the drivers before they can get on the road. 

“If we turn our app off and then on again, we have to take another picture with a mask on,” Saenz said.

Carlos De Armas has been driving for Uber for about a year to meet potential constituents for his mayoral campaign. 

“I think it’s a good idea,” De Armas said. “I think that if both everybody's wearing a mask, it’s working for everybody. It’s a good way to save the other one.”

Lyft is doing something similar, with a pilot program in Miami for both riders and drivers who have been reported for no mask. They, too, will have to take a selfie next time they’re on the platform. 

Uber tells said more than 1,250 riders have been essentially blocked from using the app after multiple reports from drivers. 

The company told NBC 6 users who repeatedly violate the policy will continue to risk losing access to the app.

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