Uber has cracked down on the wearing of masks in South Africa, requiring all Uber passengers to wear masks when they ride in a vehicle.
To this end, it has launched its Mask Verification tool locally, which requires passengers who have been reported to have not worn a mask during rides to take a photo of themselves wearing a mask to resume using the Uber platform.
Uber already requires its drivers and Uber Eats delivery people to wear masks, and it allows passengers or customers to report if their driver or delivery person was not wearing a mask.
The ride-hailing app has now placed the same requirement on passengers, and passengers may now be required to take a selfie with a mask on in order to use the app.
If a passenger in South Africa is reported by a driver for not wearing a mask, they will need to take a selfie using the app’s mask verification tool before they can take another trip.
The mask verification tool detects whether a mask is within the frame of the portrait and allows access to Uber if this is the case.
“Masks are mandatory for riders and drivers, and both of you can leave feedback if the other isn’t wearing one,” Uber said in an email to its South African users.
“If we receive feedback about anyone consistently violating our mask policy, they will be blocked from the Uber app.”
Uber has made a number of changes to its safety procedures on a global scale following the COVID-19 crisis.
These include the following:
- Hygiene reminders for riders
- Hygiene recommendations for drivers
- Vehicle sanitisation
- Mask requirements for both drivers and riders
- Mask Verification to police the above requirement
- No-penalty cancellation for trips where a rider is not wearing a mask
Uber said that its mask verification tool for riders is the same one it uses for its drivers, adding that the technology detects the mask as an object in the photo and does not process biometric information.
“As always, riders and drivers are free to cancel a trip, without penalty, if the other person isn’t wearing a mask,” Uber said.
“As more and more riders and drivers take their ‘second first trip’, we hope this increased accountability provides more peace of mind.”