Lyft to Issue Partitions to Some Drivers; Company Sued Along With Uber in Massachusetts

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
lyft to issue partitions to some drivers company sued along with uber in

You may not have noticed this, but there’s a lot of people wearing masks right now. These individuals aren’t working with drywall or sanding anything, either. You can spot them shopping, walking, or crowded around these new outdoor drinking areas located downtown that force them to huddle together while you attempt to squeeze by — coughing politely to make your intentions known.

After repeatedly Googling “What’s Going On Outside?” it was eventually revealed to your author by a helpful neighbor that there’s some kind of mystery illness nobody knows anything about. They continued explaining, but I had already stopped listening. This new information had me shocked to the core.

All I could think about was how this was going to impact Lyft drivers.

Surely the company has some kind of plan to protect its workforce and make sure they’re not riddled with blood-borne parasites or whatever. Well, we seem to be in luck. On Friday, Lyft said it will distribute around 60,000 vehicle partitions to its busiest drivers as way to protect against the coronavirus while selling customized protective shields to other drivers through the remainder of the summer.

It’s good to see a company acting so quickly to offer aid to its employees.

Had the virus manifested months earlier, this action would make the brand look downright despicable — especially since it will be the one selling the partitions. It should also be clarified that Lyft doesn’t technically classify drivers as employees; despite having no ability of their own to determine rates, Lyft officially considers them independent contractors.

Massachusetts is actually suing the company (along with Uber) over the issue right now.

“For years Uber and Lyft have built their billion-dollar businesses on a model that exploits drivers,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a message announcing the lawsuit on social media. “Uber and Lyft set the rates. They alone set the rules. Drivers are employees.”

Healey has concluded that the ride-hailing firms are technically in violation of Massachusetts law, and have been allowed to take advantage of drivers by mislabeling them. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi rebuffed this by stating drivers are effectively running a self-made business and enjoy setting their own hours. But there are problems with these assertions. They’re not really running their own business if they’re not setting the price points — and there’s nothing stopping Uber/Lyft from continuing to let drivers set their own hours as employees.

Getting back to the partitions, Reuters reports that Lyft plans to sell them for roughly $50 at production cost and without a markup. Doing some browsing, this seems to be a typical price. However, most of the ones we’ve seen have large gaps to allow air to circulate around the cabin. Might just be better to lower the windows and hope nobody’s sick.

From Reuters:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued coronavirus guidelines in April to professional drivers and recommended the installation of a partition between a driver and passengers.

As of March 2019, Lyft had nearly 2 million drivers in the United States and Canada, where it operates. But regulators and analysts estimate the number of active drivers has dropped significantly during the pandemic, when ridership plummeted because of sweeping stay-at-home orders.

[Image: Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock]

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  • 6250Claimer 6250Claimer on Jul 18, 2020

    I've been driving 47 years now, owned about 30 cars, and still haven't owned a single automatic. I've even owned cars that were very unusual to be found with a manual, but either ordered them that way or just sought them out. Yeah, it's now ancient technology, and many modern automatics are "better" transmissions by every measurable metric. I enjoy driving auto's briefly when they're not my car, just because it's a different experience - but it also serves to remind me that it's not the experience I want in my own cars. I just prefer to row my own. The 2 cars I own now are probably my last, so I'll just row off into the sunset eventually. I'll never begrudge anyone's choice of an automatic, and I understand why sticks are disappearing. But I'll "stick" to mine, thankyouverymuch.

  • Old_WRX Old_WRX on Jul 18, 2020

    @Arthur Dailey, "No truth is created by facts and evidence. In many instances this requires the use of scientifi and statistical analysis." And, the best way for the layman to get a true picture of something of this ilk is to read many opinions of people with credentials. If the picture you are getting is too monolithic, then you haven't dug deep enough. In a situation as nebulous as this there will be different opinions coming from different experts. Which there are. News outlets such as CNN, and, yes, the CDC should always be taken with a grain of salt (as should all sources of news). There are many other opinions and studies out there from experts in the field. They may not be reported in the MSM, but the highly politicized nature of the whole CV thing pretty much guarantees that. As an example: I remember reading on the weather channel that all scientists were in agreement about "global warming." (The buzz phrase has mysteriously been changed to "climate change.") Which immediately threw up a red flag. The odds of all scientists agreeing on something like that is zero. Which leads one to ask: Why are they making such a claim? And, certainly does not help their credibility.

    • See 4 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Jul 21, 2020

      @ToolGuy - I've pondered various approaches put forth by yourself and others. In the case of COVID-19, the approach used successfully so far has been the one used in my home province of B.C. That is by your definition "conventional/accepted wisdom". It isn't reflexive. I've been a healthcare professional the bulk of my entire life. I question approaches like any good professional does. In this case, I'm good with the current approach used in B.C. The USA's approach on the other hand has been poorly managed, coordinated and implemented. It has been severely damaged by politicians.

  • Ravenuer The Long Island Expressway.
  • Kwik_Shift A nice stretch of fairly remote road that would be great for test driving a car's potential, rally style, is Flinton Road off of Highway 41 in Ontario. Twists/turns/dips/rises. Just hope a deer doesn't jump out at you. Also Highway 60 through Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. Great scenery with lots of hills.
  • Saeed Hello, I need a series of other accessories from Lincoln. Do you have front window, front and rear lights, etc. from the 1972 and 1976 models
  • Probert Wow - so many digital renders - Ford, Stellantis. - whose next!!! They're really bringing it on....
  • Zerocred So many great drives:Dalton Hwy from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle.Alaska Marine Highway from Bellingham WA to Skagway AK. it was a multi-day ferry ride so I didn’t actually drive it, but I did take my truck.Icefields Parkway from Jasper AB to Lake Louise AB, CA.I-70 and Hwy 50 from Denver to Sacramento.Hwy 395 on the east side of the Sierras.