Covidiots may have more problems getting an Uber ride


Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf made a few COVID-19-related announcments today, including of a COVID Alert PA app.[1] I have installed it and set it up.

There are some obvious concerns: Not everyone, especially the numerous COVIDiots in Allegheny County and surrounding areas, will install it. The app uses Bluetooth to determine if users have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.[2] This obviously depends upon cooperation and it is clear to me that not everyone is cooperative. (continues under Ridesharing)


At least Uber seems to be cracking down. My previous bad experience with reporting riders who failed to wear masks[3] was not repeated when I reported some mask-refusing riders in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, who I thought were likely to give me a bad rating anyway because I gave them a lecture (see below) about properly wearing masks—one was not covering her nose, the other wasn’t wearing one at all. And Uber has sent an email to both riders and drivers promising that riders who are reported for failing to wear masks will be required to take selfies showing that they’re wearing masks in the future. The threat I had directed at me now clearly applies to them.

My suspicion—Uber has not confirmed this—is that riders had the opportunity to report me for not wearing a mask, when in fact I was, in retaliation because they have longer to rate a driver than the driver has to rate them. Drivers have an opportunity to rate riders at the end of the ride and must do so before they can continue on to another ride. Riders have somewhat longer and I’m guessing that Uber sent notifications that they had been reported for not wearing masks right away, allowing riders who hadn’t already rated their drivers to retaliate. I’m guessing this bug has now been fixed.

One of the challenges I face as a driver who happens to have a Ph.D. in Human Science is of maintaining my academic and intellectual integrity even when it is impolitic to do so. When asked, I must tell the truth as best I can, even when my riders might not approve of my answers. To do otherwise would be to compromise my integrity in the one area of my life where I can point to an actual accomplishment and this is something I cannot do.

This does not mean I say something when I am not asked, although I might, and sometimes do. But if asked, I cannot knowingly misinform.

Speaking of misinformation, contrary to industry-supportive claims, drivers may actually get a pay cut if Proposition 22 passes in California. Believe the worst. There are too many ways to exclude costs from the rosier estimates.[4]

Jeong Park, “Fact check: Will Uber, Lyft drivers get paid less than minimum wage under Proposition 22?” Sacramento Bee, September 24, 2020,

  1. [1]Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, “COVID Alert PA,” 2020,
  2. [2]Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, “COVID Alert PA,” 2020,
  3. [3]David Benfell, “The expendable worker,” Not Housebroken, July 8, 2020,
  4. [4]Jeong Park, “Fact check: Will Uber, Lyft drivers get paid less than minimum wage under Proposition 22?” Sacramento Bee, September 24, 2020,

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