Benefits of Ryd Guard in the Rideshare Industry

Birth, Growth and Widespread Use of Rideshare

Research and analysis have shown the majority of people using the rideshare industry as a means for transportation have done so due to increased vehicle and fuel prices. Cars are a substantial investment and a depreciating asset the moment driven off the dealer’s lot. This investment poses a heavy burden on the vehicle owner which is made worse when a loan is involved and the cost of insurance is added in. Consequently, the ride share industry evolved from the car-pooling model of the 1960’s and 1970’s to present as way to avert costs but still have the same personal and convenient transport service. Prior to the pandemic, it was estimated that the rideshare industry would continue a Compound Annual Growth Rate of almost 20% per year and expected to surpass $220 billion by 2025. (Orbis Research) Of interesting note, the rideshare industry only accounted for a little over 1% of the vehicle miles traveled in the United States which helped to keep travel costs down in comparison to owning a car. Probably the biggest boon to the rideshare industry, simplified phone and tablet apps permit a rideshare passenger to hail a ride from anywhere with only a few clicks, to see reviews of the driver, and even see a photo of car and driver. Prior to the pandemic, up to 25% of people in the U.S. used a ridesharing service once a month.


COVID-19’s initial impact on rideshare industry

COVID-19 decimated the rideshare industry when the country shut down with shelter in place orders to flatten the curve to reduce the rate of transmission. A survey of 240 rideshare drivers in New York City revealed that as COVID-19 cases were still dramatically increasing, drivers were unprotected as a result of PPE shortages, and many lacked the ability to access proper healthcare. Essential and deemed frontline workers, 25% of rideshare drivers surveyed, “… had a member of their household who had COVID-19 symptoms – which was above New York’s rate at the time (20%). 11% of the drivers surveyed also reported a family member who tested positive. 48% of respondents reported that they would not be able to get the medical care they need.” The same survey revealed that 66% of drivers lacked the ability to acquire proper PPE at a time when they needed to drive twice as many hours to find a similar number of rides than prior to the pandemic’s impact. “This incredible and sudden drop-off in revenue resulted in 69% of drivers saying they would not be able to pay their rent or mortgage for April, and 80% reporting that they would not be able to pay in May. On top of all this, half of the drivers surveyed were seeking help in accessing food. Put simply this means that overnight, drivers literally had their livelihoods snatched from them.” (Business Insider, July 29, 2020)


The Rideshare industry adapts to COVID-19

As people return to travel for work or personal reasons, there is a natural inclination to avoid the congestion and density of public transportation and look to rideshare solutions. While this bodes well for recovery of the industry, drivers are faced with the ongoing risk of transmission of COVID-19 by transporting passengers who are unknown to them, and in many cases, from different regions and different States. Simultaneously, passengers are looking for reassurances they are protected in the driver’s vehicle. Standard precautions apply such as the wearing of a face coverings like a mask or face shield, a prolific use of hand sanitizer, and the wiping down of all contact surfaces between rides such as door handles, door jambs, windows, seats, and seatbelt buckles. Precautions also include keeping windows partially down and not to use re-circulating air within the vehicle cabin. While all these recommendations provide a measured degree of protection, one cannot socially distance a minimum of six feet in most ride share situations. Thus, governmental and medical organizations suggest the use of a partition between the driver and passengers to serve as an environmentally hygienic social barrier to augment other efforts to reduce risk of spreading the virus. The Ohio Department of Health in their COVID-19 Checklist for Rideshare and Taxi Drivers and Passengers recommends drivers “consider putting a physical barrier between the vehicle’s drivers and passenger areas.” The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a federal agency, in their OSHA ALERT: COVID-19 Guidance for Rideshare, Taxi, and Car Service Workers recommends “Limit the number of passengers drivers can transport at a single time, and install plexiglass partitions between driver and passenger compartments where possible.”  Another federal agency, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in its recommendations What Rideshare, Taxi, Limo, and other Passenger Drivers-for-Hire Need to Know about COVID-19 suggests having passengers sit in back seats and use of “… a partition between driver and passengers.”   


Ryd Guard Offers Supplemental Transparent Partition System

Many drivers are working longer hours to find the pre-pandemic volume of rides and having to incur costs of sanitizers, masks, gloves, and partitions between driver and passenger compartments. Price points and intrusion into the upholstered interior of what is many times one’s personal vehicle are areas of concern with partitions. Ryd Guard provides the ride share community with an affordable and transparent supplemental barrier between driver and passengers as part of an overall strategy to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in the community setting. Produced in the United States and Canada, Ryd Guard offers a first line of defense and multiple barrier approach to augment face coverings when six feet of social distancing is not practical. Installation and removal are fast and simple using Ryd Guard’s innovative patent pending strap system without mounting or intrusion damage to the vehicle’s interior. Made of thermoformed polycarbonate, the supplemental social barrier is extremely durable, optically clear, and has speaking ports to facilitate communication between driver and passengers. It can be easily sanitized between uses with antibacterial wipes or soaps, comes in two sizes, and can be customized with logos, imagery, or messaging. Drivers, on the front line with a high volume of social interaction, will find the supplemental partition to be appreciated by passengers as it adds another layer of confidence between vehicle compartments. 

Going Forward with Ryd Guard

Since States began re-opening to varying degrees, millions of people across the country are on the move again and in need of transportation. The rideshare industry, in need of widespread recovery, faces many challenges, and experts say the pandemic will change the future of the rideshare industry. Lyft has formed a Health Safety Program as part of its COVID-19 Task Force (Fortune Magazine, April 22, 2020) that includes a Personal Health Certification, and Uber states that before drivers can accept trips, they have to take a selfie with a mask on using new technology in the Uber app. Uber also states it set aside $50 million to buy supplies like masks, disinfectant sprays, sanitizer and gloves for drivers. (Rideshare Companies Navigating Pandemic to Keep Drivers and Riders Safe) but it’s harder for these ride-share giants to instill fleet wide change as drivers use personal vehicles like the majority of the rideshare industry. What’s at stake until there is a vaccine, is the rate of transmission, and that comes down to individual initiatives. Ryd Guard is the clear choice for the ride share community providing a first-line-of-defense, supplemental transparent barrier between driver and passenger compartments to augment face coverings as part of the overall strategy to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in the community setting.

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