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Uber resumes shared rides in US

·1-min read
Uber has resumed its ride-sharing service in the United States, initially offering it to customers in Miami (AFP/Josh Edelson)

Ride-hailing giant Uber has resumed its ride-sharing service in the United States, a top executive announced Tuesday, offering customers in Miami a feature that was stopped last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UberX Share option -- formerly called Uber Pool -- allows people to share rides with strangers at a reduced cost, and builds in precautions against the spread of the coronavirus.

"609 days later, shared rides are back in the US," tweeted Andrew Macdonald, Uber's Senior Vice President of Mobility and Business Operations.

Keeping Covid-19 in mind, drivers on the service can only transport two customers at a time and face masks are compulsory for everyone in the vehicle.

"We all play a role in helping to keep one another safe. That's why riders and drivers are required to wear a mask, even when vaccinated," the company said in its guidelines for the service.

In some select areas, based on local guidelines, customers "will be asked to take a selfie to verify that they're wearing a mask" when requesting a ride.

Uber's ride-hailing business stalled with the onset of the pandemic as riders and drivers stayed off the roads, but demand has returned this year faster than the supply of drivers, pushing up prices and wait times for passengers.

The firm invested in promotions early this year to lure drivers back to the platform to ease the situation.

Uber has re-introduced ride-sharing in several cities around the world, including Accra, Lagos, Nairobi, Kiev, and some urban centers in Australia.

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