Population Health

November 24, 2021

New study offers view into work life of app-based drivers during COVID-19

Image of a passenger in an app-hailed vehicleA new University of Washington study highlights the significant effects of COVID-19 on app-based drivers regarding their business and livelihood.

Marissa Baker, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health sciences at the University of Washington, was senior author on this recent study wherein four app-based drivers conducted interviews of 100 fellow drivers to assess their thoughts on the challenges and pressures they face during the pandemic.

The general concerns of the interviewees centered around health concerns due to the proximity of customers in the car, a lack of safety and sanitization supplies provided by their company and the mental effects of feeling isolated from other drivers who likely face similar challenges. The study also notes the steps that have been taken in Seattle and other major cities to improve the drivers’ working conditions by establishing minimum wage requirements and resolution centers, in addition to other improvements.

However, the overall concerns noted in the study exist for drivers across the nation and have only been exacerbated by the pandemic, which the study suggests is cause for the need to establish better benefits and improved working conditions for app-based drivers everywhere.

This study was funded by a Population Health Initiative COVID-19 economic recovery grant.

Learn More >