Asian Uber and Lyft Riders and Drivers Face Backlash Due to Coronavirus

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Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, Asian people are experiencing discrimination within the ride-hailing community.

  • The deadly coronavirus, which originated in China, is now spreading to other countries.
  • Some Asian American Uber and Lyft drivers and riders have complained that they are getting more cancellations, less tips and worse ratings since the outbreak.
  • While both drivers and riders need to be protected from health concerns, it can’t come at the expense of discrimination.

Asian American ride-hail customers are complaining that they are being discriminated against since the coronavirus outbreak.

As reported by Bloomberg, customers and drivers of Asian descent have brought up some troubling issues. Those include inappropriate comments and even cancelling of rides because of someone’s name or ethnic appearance. In one account, an Asian American driver said her job numbers have fallen since the outbreak. Another told of an Asian customer who was initially rejected for airport pick up until a white friend explained to the driver they weren’t traveling from China.

Profiling already an issue

The risk of profiling is already a topic of concern for the industry. In ride-hailing apps, drivers and riders can see the first name and photo of each other. While ride-hailing companies explain this is a safety and convenience feature, it creates a fertile environment for discrimination. And, Uber’s currently under scrutiny for changing a policy that could discriminate against minorities and low-income people.

Although ride-hailing companies claim they are addressing discrimination, it doesn’t seem to be enough. Caitlin Pascua, an Uber driver of Asian American descent in the Los Angeles area, explained that since the outbreak, she’s getting frequent cancellations and lower ratings and tips.

At the time of this writing, a site that tracks the worldwide impact lists over 35,000 contracted cases and 813 deaths so far.


The fear generated by the coronavirus outbreak is well-warranted. However, both riders and drivers deserve to be protected from this deadly virus, but not at the expense of prejudice against Asians or anyone else.

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