Uber halts shared rides to slow spread of coronavirus

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Uber just made a huge change to its service in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. 

According to a report in Reuters, Uber is suspending shared rides on its platform in the United States and Canada. In essence, the pooled option in the app has been disabled.

The appeal of pooled Uber rides is that it can lower prices for riders by enabling them to share trips with up to three other passengers. But Uber has nixed this option in order to keep its employees and customers safe.

Initially, this move covers the U.S. and Canada, but a spokesman says that similar steps are being evaluating in other locations.

Uber has also made a big change to its app when you are booking a ride. The warning reads: “Flatten the curve. Travel only if necessary. If you must travel, please exercise caution for your safety and the safety of your community.” 

If you click to learn more, you'll see a note from Uber about its stance on COVID-19, urging people to "take a moment to consider if this trip is essential. This will help limit the spread of COVID-19 and make sure rides are available for those who truly need them."

In the meantime, the Uber Eats food delivery service remains operational but that too could see operations adjusted based on evolving circumstances.

As of Tuesday morning, the Lyft app was still offering shared rides within the app, though just 1-2 people.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has infected more than 182,400 people and killed over 7,100 people worldwide. And the number of US cases has no surpassed 4,400 with 87 deaths.

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.