LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — It's a familiar scene that played out on airplanes around the nation when people learned that a federal ruling meant no more masks on flights. It's not just flights affected, it's all public transportation - including buses and rideshare companies.
One Lexington Uber driver, Frank Harris, says his favorite part of the job is chatting with people.
"I'd say 98% of the people I get are people I would love to have again,” says Harris.
Harris has been driving for the last three years or so - and it was around 9:00 am today when he got the notification from Uber.
"I can’t say for anybody but me - for me, it was just kind of an unpleasant fact of life and most of us are glad that it’s no longer going to be one,” explains Harris.
Uber’s website says in part “…riders and drivers are not required to wear masks when using uber. However, the CDC still recommends wearing one if you have certain personal risks factors and or high transmission levels in your area."
Now, riders will also be allowed back in the front seat.
"I've always enjoyed seeing my passengers because when they're in the back seat I can’t see their faces and I don't really get a good look at them, and I don't have as good of a conversation with them."
Lextran has also made masking optional. Leaders said:
“Effective immediately, masks are optional for passengers and employees onboard Lextran vehicles. The use of masks onboard public transit is still recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Lextran’s policy may be modified in accordance with federal orders or requirements.
We ask riders for patience as it may take a bit of time to update signage and messaging onboard vehicles and at facilities.”
Harris admits he doesn't think the lift will impact rider numbers. But as the weather warms up and more people want to ride, Harris says he's looking forward to taking them where they need to go.
"You'll have more people going out on the weekends, more people going to restaurants and things like that. So, hopefully, I’ll be giving more rides,” says Harris.
Both Uber and Lextran have said online and in statements, that they are still referring to centers for disease control and prevention guidelines on masking.