Some Lyft drivers are reportedly upset that the ridesharing company is making them purchase their own personal protective gear in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, saying the company ought to provide PPE for free.
Lyft, which has a market capitalization of $9.17 billion, is providing masks and vehicle partitions to its most active drivers, while all others will have to buy them from the company’s online store. The decision has enraged some drivers, who claim Lyft is being insensitive to their needs during the pandemic, according to a report from Digital Trends.
“It’s such an unreasonable and overall ridiculous level of cynicism to sell your workers the protective gear that they need for the risks that you expose them to and profit from,” Lyft driver Edan Alva told the tech outlet.
A Lyft spokesperson told Digital Trends that the company doesn’t profit off of the PPE that is available to purchase on its online store.
“All cleaning supplies and safety products are provided to drivers either for free or at cost,” the spokesperson said. “The Lyft Store is a resource to provide millions of drivers across the U.S. easy access to cleaning supplies and face masks that have consistently been difficult to find.”
The company also said it will give about 60,000 vehicle partition shields to its most-active drivers, and sell them to other drivers for around $50, according to a separate report from CNBC. Lyft told the cable news channel that the sale price covers production cost without markup.
Lyft’s online store opened June 1 and sells merchandise to Lyft drivers “at cost,” the company told The Guardian.
Ridesharing companies like Lyft and competitor Uber have experienced steep declines in ridership since the outbreak of the Chinese coronavirus.
Lyft said during its most recent earnings call that ridership has risen from its lows earlier this year but remains 70 percent below year-ago levels. The company announced in April that it will lay off 1,000 people, or 17 percent of its workforce, and furlough close to 300 more.