Wednesday 18 March 2020 1:54 pm

Coronavirus: Uber suspends pool service in London

Uber has suspended its pool service in London to help limit the spread of coronavirus.

The ride-sharing app made the call last night to suspend the service in London, Paris, the US and Canada.

Read more: Coronavirus: Schools in Scotland and Wales to close

The pool option allows users to share their Uber ride with other people heading in the same direction, but going to different destinations.

The move came after Boris Johnson advised the country to take extreme social distancing measures and to stop socialising in public spaces.

Uber tweeted: “We want to help ensure the safety of everyone in our cities while being available for essential travel needs. 

“Because of this, we are reminding riders, with in-app messages, to travel only when necessary and take steps to protect themselves and their drivers.”

Uber’s senior vice president of rides and platform Andy Macdonald said: “Our goal is to help flatten the curve on community spread in the cities we serve.”

Concern has been raised about the welfare of workers in the gig economy and if they will be eligible for sick pay during the coronavirus outbreak.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan yesterday called for government protections for workers in the sector.

“We need further extensions in support for statutory sick pay and benefits to ensure those who are unable to work, including the self-employed and freelancers, are able meet their living costs,” he said.

“Those working in the gig economy will also need special support from the government.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Westminster and Southwark the worst affected London boroughs

Uber is offering its workers 14 days of financial assistance to its drivers if they get “diagnosed with COVID-19 or are personally placed in quarantine by a public health authority”.

The policy, which will be enforced worldwide, will only be available from 6 April onward.