[By Jennifer Collins]
CHARLESTON, SC (WCIV) — With the coronavirus fear spreading, ride share drivers are interested in the potential impact they might have as fewer people plan to travel.
“I’ve been talking to my customers and they say that their planes are usually around a half to a third full, and some of the customers that are flying in are wearing masks,” says Kendall Osland, a driver for Uber X.
Ride share drivers wait patiently for passengers. They say they have not noticed a decrease in demand but have noticed a decrease in drivers in the shared waiting lot located just outside the Charleston International Airport.
“It feels like there are fewer Lyft and Uber drivers out here. Normally this parking lot would be full at this time of the day and you can have up to 30 cars waiting on average. But this past two weeks, it’s usually been about an average of 15 cars or less,” said Osland.
Customers they pick up at Charleston International do not seem to be too worried.
“So far no customers have been really worried about it and we’re not really worried about it either, so we’re being safe as much as we can,” says Peter Dempsey, a driver with Uber Premium.
Companies like Uber have advised their drivers to wash their hands, stay at home if they feel sick and wash their cars frequently. Drivers say customers have also helped with their own luggage.
“Customers have been putting their bags in the cars themselves, so that helps out a little bit,” says Dempsey.
Most ride share drivers across Charleston haven’t changed their routine.
“As far as like cleaning the car and things like that, I typically try to. I haven’t really changed my routine that much as far as keeping the car clean because I like to keep it clean for the customers,” explains Osland.
Uber advises its drivers that if they feel uncomfortable picking up a passenger for safety reasons, they can choose to not accept or cancel the trip. They also warn that it is against the community guidelines to discriminate against anyone based on their race or national origin.