Uber suspends pool rides in US and Canada to prevent spread of coronavirus

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 (CNN) — Starting today, Uber is suspending the pooled ride component of its service in the US and Canada to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The UberPool option, which offers riders a lower price by allowing them to share the car with other passengers heading in the same direction, is now unavailable when users open the app.

“Our goal is to help flatten the curve of community spread in the cities we serve,” Senior Vice President of Uber Rides and Platform Andrew Macdonald said in a statement. “We remain in close contact with local leaders and will continue to work with them to discourage non-essential travel.”

The company said it will continue to monitor developments in other cities outside of the US and Canada and determine if similar measures are necessary.

Other ride options will remain available, the company said. But riders in the US and Canada will see a message in the app notifying them to “travel only when necessary.”

Uber’s move comes as the number of coronavirus cases in the US near 4,500 with 87 deaths. Cities across the nation have closed down businesses, schools, bars and restaurants, and are encouraging people to self-isolate at home.

As of Tuesday, shared rides on Lyft are still available in the US. Lyft did not respond to CNN’s immediate request for comment.

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