Uber and Lyft backseats are 35,000 times germier than the average toilet seat, reveals study
For a lot of people, getting into the back seat of their Uber or Lyft is almost like second nature. The car pulls up, and once the license plate and driver photos match the information provided on the app, you know it's safe to get into the back seat. A recent study, however, shows that even after all of that, it might be safer to get into the front seat, or at least make good use of a hand sanitizer first thing before getting into the back. The reason? Germs in the backseat.
The results of the study might shock you enough to reconsider happily opting for the backseat of a ride-hailing vehicle because they show these areas to be germier than a toilet seat. Sitting in the front is said to be potentially less dangerous, reveals a study by insurance company Netquote.
While more and more people are opting for ride-hailing app services like Uber and Lyft, especially with Uber gearing up to become a publicly traded company, the health, and safety of these riders are getting compromised and back-seat riding is getting more common.
The study found that the average rideshare vehicle has about 219 times as many germs as a regular average taxi as the latter gets cleaned regularly. This amount of germs in an Uber or Lyft, is said to be three times germier than an average toothbrush holder. It is also said to be more than 35,000 times germier than a regular toilet seat.
The Netquote study, however, reveals that most germs on these vehicles are on the window buttons and the seat belts. And although the door handles aren't that bad, they are still far worse than door handles on personal vehicles. The study examined only three rideshare vehicles, three taxis, and three rental cars. In that, this wasn't a scientific examination of the matter.
Northwestern University assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering Erica Hartmann has studied microbial issues in transportation.
She told USA Today that the fact that these vehicles are a storehouse of bacteria is no shocking matter. "We carry our bacteria with us everywhere we go," she said. "So it makes sense that the places where there are humans there are also going to be bacteria. It’s just a fact of life."
Granted many of these bacteria are harmless to humans, she said that taking a ride with a stranger on these vehicles could definitely expose one to illness. "Drivers are very aware of damage and visible dirt, but I don’t think many are thinking about germs," said the founder of TheRideshareGuy.com and author of The Rideshare Guide, Harry Campbell, according to USA Today.
The American Cleaning Institute represents cleaning companies and has urged ride-hailing drivers to clean up. "Drivers should strive to regularly clean and vacuum their vehicle," said Brian Sansoni, senior vice president of communications, outreach and membership for the organization.
"Consider using a fabric refresher or air sanitizer .... Riders can bring along a hand sanitizer or hand wipes if they're worried about touching too many surfaces."